American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

2007 Medical Practice Issues

Survey of Osteopathic Physicians, Executive Summary 

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) conducted a Web survey of osteopathic physicians regarding their practice characteristics in the fall of 2007. The survey focused on four practice issues: participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP); use and billing of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT); provision of charity care; and hours worked, patients seen, and amount of vacation taken. These issues were selected because they are important to the AOA’s advocacy activities and policy priorities.

Highlights of the survey results are described below:

  • Approximately 80% of osteopathic physicians accepted Medicare assignment for all patients; 7.2% accepted assignment for some conditions or for some patients; and 12.9% did not accept assignment.

  • Over 54% of DOs participated in Medicaid and were accepting additional Medicaid patients; 15.7% participated in Medicaid but were not accepting new patients; and 30.0% did not participate in Medicaid at all.

  • Nearly 46% of osteopathic physicians participated in SCHIP.

  • Approximately 57% of osteopathic physicians reported using OMT for inpatients or outpatients. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Use of OMT, 2007

Use of OMT, 2007

  • Eighty percent of the responding osteopathic physicians provided charity care in the past year, and 94% of those who provided charity care in the past year provided charity care in the past month.

  • Approximately 77% of charity care patients treated by osteopathic physicians during the past month had no insurance, 9.7% had Medicaid, and 13.2% had other insurance coverage. (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Insurance status of charity care patients treated by osteopathic physicians in the past month, 2007

Use of OMT, 2007

  • In their last complete week of work, osteopathic physicians worked a median of 50 hours and a median of 5 days.

  • The median number of vacation days taken by osteopathic physicians was 15.

  • Approximately 64% of osteopathic physicians served as preceptors for students, interns, or residents in their office practice; 55.0% did so voluntarily and 8.6% were paid.