Academic Medicine Being Neglected?

Physician's Money Digest, August31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 16

The financial compensation picture for academicmedical practice is mixed, according to the 2003Medical Group Management Association ( Academic Practice Compensation andProduction Survey. As far as academic physician paygoes, the short-term picture is better than the longtermpicture. Over a 5-year period, median annualcompensation increases for all academic-based doctorshas barely kept pace with inflation (1.9% for primarycare; 2.5% for specialists).


According to the 2003survey report (based on2002 data), the mediancompensation for a primarycare faculty memberwas just under $132,000,up nearly 4% from theprevious year. Internalmedicine experienced thelargest increase in the primarycare sector, with a6% increase to $131,127.

The median compensationfor a specialistfaculty member was$175,000, up about 2.5%from 2001. The specialties experiencing solid compensationincreases were gastroenterology (+13% to$176,887), anesthesiology (+9.2% to $217,079), pulmonarymedicine (+8.6% to $153,094), ophthalmology(+8.5% to $205,322), and infectious disease (+7.4%to $130,598). The specialties with the largest compensationdecreases were OB/GYN medicine (-3.2% to$166,022), otorhinolaryngology (-2.1% to $214,928),and orthopedic surgery (-0.4% to $285,773).


Median compensation increased for the majority offaculty positions, regardless of rank. Primary caredepartment chairs enjoyed the largest increase incompensation (+15% to $243,849). Specialist departmentchairs earned the highest median income at$347,349. Specialist professors earned $198,000 andprimary care professors earned $161,279. Primary careassociate professors earned $140,300 and specialistassociate professors earned $177,172. Primary careinstructors earned $113,856 and specialist instructorsearned $124,997. The specialist professors earning thehighest average annual total compensation were cardiovascularsurgeons at $368,394. The departmentchair earning the highest average annual total compensationwas surgery (neurological) at $595,315; thelowest was family practice at $213,351.