Physician Compensation Shows Mixed Movement

A MGMA survey shows that physician compensation in 2010 was mixed with emergency medicine up the most year-over-year and urology had the largest decrease.

Primary and specialty-care physicians reported mixed movement in compensation in 2010, according to a Medical Group Management Association survey.

The 2011 Physician Compensation and Production Survey reported on the median earnings of 15 specialties and noted that while some had a decrease from the previous year, the majority increased.

Emergency medicine grew the most year-over-year by 5.65%, while dermatologists have seen the largest 4-year increase, up almost 25% to $430,874 in 2010. Although compensation for all of the selected specialties in the MGMA study have increased over the last four years, when taking into account inflation, four specialties have actually decreased: hematology and oncology by 1.42%; obstetrics and gynecology by 4.22%; diagnostic radiology by 2.42%; and urology by 3.71%.

In 2010, there were decreases in the median compensation for gastroenterology (down 0.33%), obstetrics and gynecology (down 0.51%), ophthalmology (down 2.20%), diagnostic radiology (down 1.58%) and urology (down 4.66%).

The numbers also varied regionally. In the Southern region, primary and specialty-care physicians reported the highest earnings at $216,170 and $404,000 respectively. However, in the Eastern section primary and specialty-care physicians reported the lowest median compensation at $194,409 and $305,575.

“A number of factors may attribute to regional differences in physician compensation," Jeffrey B. Milburn with MGMA Health Care Consulting Group said in a statement. “The supply and demand for primary care or specialty physicians may influence compensation. A high level of competition between groups or specific specialties may provide an opportunity for payers to reduce reimbursement. In states where payers have little competition, reimbursement and subsequent physician compensation may be lower.”

The full survey will be released in July.