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 (www.mgma.com) 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).

MIXED BAG

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).

REGARDLESS OF RANK

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.