Cardiologist Pay Slips for First Time in 5 Years

The 2014 Provider Compensation and Productivity Report found overall compensation for cardiologists dropped 8% from 2012 to 2013, a decrease attributed in part to a slight decline in productivity.

Cardiologists saw their incomes drop for the first time in 5 years, according to a new survey from MedAxiom.

The 2014 Provider Compensation and Productivity Report found overall compensation for cardiologists dropped 8% from 2012 to 2013, a decrease attributed in part to a slight decline in productivity, according to Joel Sauer, vice president of MedAxiom Consulting.

“Healthcare continues to be a very volatile industry, with rapid change being accepted as the norm,” Sauer said, in a press release. “The world of cardiovascular is no different and 2013 was another dynamic year.”

That volatility is reflected in some of the gaps uncovered in the report.

For instance, physicians who work in integrated practices, through hospital employment or professional services agreements, earned 30% more on average than cardiologists in private practice. Private physicians saw their compensation dip by 9% in 2013, while cardiologists in integrated practices reported an income drop of 7% last year. That gap persists despite the fact that private physicians were 6% more productive, according to the survey.

Interventional cardiologists remained the top earners in the survey, making a median annual income of $558,824. Electrophysiologists were found to be the most productive, though the subspecialty saw the largest income drop, at 9%, according to MedAxiom.

Meanwhile, physicians in the Midwest earned the highest pay: $559,004 per year. Those in the northeast were at the bottom of the pay scale, making $460,815.

The report is based on data submitted by 134 cardiology programs representing 2,554 cardiologists across the country. Of the responding programs, the majority — 97 – were integrated practices.

Despite the slip in pay, cardiologists remain one of the best-paid specialties in the medical field. When the website Insider Monkey tabulated the most highly paid specialties earlier this year, invasive and non-invasive cardiologists came in second and third, respectively. The only specialists who make more, according to the study, are orthopedic surgeons.