Assistant Surgeon – PA vs. Physician Payment

February 2, 2017

I am writing because I have a question that you might be able to help me with. My PA of several years who assists me in the operating room is retiring. There is a local family practitioner that is leaving her practice and it might be interesting to see if she would be interested in assisting me in surgery. Is there a difference in payment for the PA versus the physician?

Yes, there is a difference in payment. Medicare allows 16%, for the physician as an assistant surgeon (modifier 80) of what is paid to the primary surgeon. For the PA, Medicare pays 85% (modifier AS) of what would have been paid to a physician (16% of the primary surgeon’s allowable) – that’s about 13.6% of the primary surgeon’s allowable.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 02/02/17.


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