MGMA survey: Radiology compensation slips
While radiologists’ compensation crept downward, primary and specialty care physicians reported mixed movement in compensation in 2010, according to Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA's) “Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data.” The report also showed persistent regional discrepancies in compensation.

Radiologists earned a median compensation of $471,253, a decrease of 1.58 percent, and physicians in internal medicine earned $205,379 in median compensation, an increase of 4.21 percent since 2009.

Other primary and specialty care physicians reported mixed movement in 2010. Family practitioners (without obstetrics) reported median compensation of $189,402. Pediatric/adolescent medicine physicians earned $192,148 in median compensation, an increase of 0.39 percent since 2009. Anesthesiologists reported decreased compensation, as did gastroenterologists. Psychiatrists, dermatologists, neurologists and general surgeons were among specialists who reported an increase in median compensation since 2009.

Regional data included in the report revealed compensation discrepancies among physicians based on geographic location. In the Southern region, primary and specialty care physicians reported the highest earnings at $216,170 and $404,000, respectively. Primary and specialty care physicians in the Eastern section reported the lowest median compensation at $194,409 and $305,575, respectively.

“A number of factors may attribute to regional differences in physician compensation," said Jeffrey B. Milburn, MBA, of MGMA's Health Care Consulting Group. “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 payors to reduce reimbursement. In states where payors have little competition, reimbursement and subsequent physician compensation may be lower.

“Location desirability is another factor influencing competition and compensation," Milburn noted. "Some areas have a much higher ratio of physicians to population, and one might think this would lead to increased competition and lower compensation. But, the usual laws of supply and demand aren’t always at work in healthcare.”

The 2011 report includes data for nearly 60,000 physicians and nonphysician providers in more than 150 specialties, including demographic categories ranging from geographic region and practice setting (in small, medium and large groups) to years in specialty and method of compensation. The report also contains various performance ratios illustrating the relationship between compensation and production and data on collections for professional charges and work relative value units.

The complete printed copy of the report will be available in July, said the Englewood, Colo.-based MGMA.