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ARTICLE |

Compensating Physicians for Telephone Calls

Richard Balon, MD
JAMA. 1995;274(3):216. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530030036021.
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To the Editor.  —In his excellent Commentary, Dr Sorum1 proposed implementation of financial compensation for the time physicians spend talking with patients by telephone. He stated correctly that "[p]atients and third-party payers are benefiting from physicians' time and expertise."We believe that physicians also should be compensated for telephone calls with third-party payers. Those involved even marginally with managed care are quite familiar with the endless hours on the phone speaking with third-party payers. We have spent an enormous amount of time explaining the obvious, asking for more time for treatment after every third visit, and requesting rejected payments for appropriate services. All free of charge. I am sure that a payment scale for telephone calls with third-party payers would reduce significantly the amount of time we spend on the phone with them. As Sorum says, it is time for payers finally to enter the telephone age. I would

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