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Medicare spending on physician services declined $13.9 billion in 2020

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | December 03, 2021 Insurance
Primary care specialties fared slightly better than average with cumulative spending for internal medicine and family medicine down 10% and 12%, respectively.
Spending by state or region
Reductions in cumulative spending ranged from a 9% decline for Idaho, Oklahoma and South Carolina to a 22% decline for Minnesota.
There was a strong regional pattern to the impacts, with the biggest reductions concentrated in the Northeast and Upper Midwest and the smallest impacts in the South and Western/Northwest regions (Idaho, Nevada and Utah).
Telehealth spending
Telehealth accounted for 5% of Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) spending in 2020, up from 0.1% of spending prior to the pandemic.
Telehealth spending was concentrated in a handful of service categories with established patient office visits accounting for just under one-half of all MPFS telehealth spending.
Specialties with the largest shares of telehealth spending were providers of mental health services, including clinical social workers (50%), clinical psychologists (38%) and psychiatrists (31%).

The new report on changes in Medicare physician spending builds on the AMA’s insight into the precarious trends and realities that physicians face as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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