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Surgeons feel spending slowdown

Article-Surgeons feel spending slowdown

Washington — Some cosmetic surgeons’ incomes declined by as much as 50 percent during the economic recession, says Mark Berman, M.D., outgoing president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, according to

The growth of national health spending slowed to 4 percent in 2009 — the slowest rate registered since at least 1960, according to an annual report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary, reports.

Dr. Berman says some cosmetic surgeons are still performing the same number of procedures but at lower prices, and patients also are opting for less costly procedures.

He adds that more physicians who normally do not provide minor cosmetic procedures have begun offering them to supplement their income.

Other statistics published in the CMS annual report include:

Federal healthcare spending increased to 27 percent of all health spending in 2009, a 3 percentage-point increase over the previous year.

Medicaid spending increased by 9 percent in 2009 — nearly twice the rate of 2008 — to $373.9 billion, driven largely by additional enrollment.

The two major exceptions to restrained spending increases in 2009 were retail prescription drugs, which bounced back from record low growth in 2008, and home healthcare.

The report was published online Jan. 5 in the journal Health Affairs.

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