More Work, Less Money for Docs

During 2011 physicians reported that they experienced a slightly longer work week while compensation was mostly flat or slightly down. More worryingly, the vast majority have poor outlooks for their practices over the next three years.

During 2011 physicians reported that they experienced a slightly longer work week while compensation was mostly flat or slightly down, according to a survey.

The Physician’s Practice 2012 Physician Compensation Survey, revealed that 34.6% of respondents said their compensation was down over a year ago, 38.2% said their pay was about the same and 27.2% reported compensation was up.

In last year’s survey, 43% of respondents said their income was about the same as the previous year. According to Physician’s Practice, that 5% difference went to increase the “down by more” replies.

Although the vast majority of doctors either reported compensation was the same or down, they were working more. In 2011 6% of respondents said they worked more than 75 hours; this year that number is up almost 2 percentage points.

The survey also revealed that the majority of physicians (81.4%) aren’t letting Medicare reimbursement uncertainties impact their practice. Only 4% reported that they’ve stopped seeing Medicare patients altogether and just 14.6% do not accept new Medicare patients.

Far more worrying was how practice owners/partners viewed their practice’s net income. More than half said net income was “disappointing,” while 38% said “about right” and only 8% reported “excellent.”

The majority of respondents don’t have high hopes for their practice’s future: 38% said their practice isn’t growing significantly, 29% said their practice’s future was shaky and 8% said they may have to close their doors in the next one to three years.

And yet, 62.9% plan to continue as they are in the next five years. Only 7.5% are looking to close or sell their practices, 12.1% to retire and 17.5% will seek a partnership, group opportunity like an Accountable Care Organization.

The respondents of the survey were mostly from independent practices (56.5%) and more than half (56.2%) are employed physicians while 43.8% reported that they are an owner/partner at their practice.

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2012 Physician Compensation Survey