This year's MGMA physician compensation survey report reveals how the recession and other factors have affected doctors financially, though the extent of salary fluctuation varies by specialty.
In 2009, physicians in primary care experienced a 2.8 percent increase in their median compensation, according to the MGMA Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data. Overall, physicians in some specialties reported higher compensation, but to different degrees. See how different in the following highlights.
Increasing physician incomes (total median compensation)
- Dermatology 12.2 percent increase
Dermatologists' compensation has steadily increased over the past several years, due partly to their ability to offer elective procedures not covered by insurance and collect the full fee at time of service.
- Ophthalmology 7.7 percent increase Ophthalmologists are reaping the benefits of the growing popularity of laser refractive surgery and other non-covered services.
Flat or declining physician incomes (total median compensation)
- OB/GYN 1.1 percent decline
- Invasive cardiology 0.2 percent decline
- Hematology/oncology remained flat, with only a 2.2 percent increase since 2005, due in part to reduced reimbursement for administering drugs
Hospital ownership factors
Specialty-care physicians in not-hospital-owned practices reported higher compensation than their counterparts in hospital-owned practices; Median compensation for a specialty-care physician in a not-hospital-owned practice was 25.5 percent greater than a specialty-care physician in a hospital-owned practice.
However, those in hospital-owned groups reported greater compensation per work RVU suggesting that the differences in compensation for these physicians may be the result of production.
Practice ownership matters less for primary care physicians yielding a difference in compensation of less than 0.4 percent.
About the report
This MGMA survey report provides data on nearly 60,000 providers - the largest provider population of any physician compensation survey in the United States. The 2010 report includes data for physicians and nonphysician providers in more than 110 specialties, and also features new Health and Human Services (HHS) Region compensation data; hospitalist: internal medicine-pediatric information and physician production (pay and pay-for-production by quartile of productivity) analysis for neurology and pediatrics.
This year, we're offering a virtual, interactive version of the data that is exportable to Excel and easier to read.
Note: MGMA surveys depend on voluntary participation and may not be representative of the industry. Readers are urged to review the entire survey report when making conclusions regarding trends or other observations.