Most medical specialties saw marginal increases in compensation in 2011; however, radiologists bucked the trend, according to findings released Aug. 6 as part of the American Medical Group Association's (AMGA) 2012 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.
The compensation portion of the survey found that 79 percent of the specialties experienced increases in compensation in 2011, with the overall average increase totalling 2.8 percent.
Primary care specialties saw a 4 percent increase in 2011, while other medical specialties averaged an increase of 2.8 percent and surgical specialties averaged a 3.4 percent increase.
However, interventional diagnostic radiologists’ median compensation fell from $492,102 in 2010 to $485,277 in 2011, a drop of 1.39 percent. Diagnostic radiologists’ median compensation decreased from $461,250 to $459,186, according to AMGA.
Despite the downward trends, radiologists sit near the top of the scale, with only orthopedic surgeons, cardiac/thoracic surgeons and cath lab cardiologists out-earning imagers.
The survey reports that during 2011, the specialties experiencing the largest increases in compensation were hematology and medical oncology (7.13 percent), hypertension and nephrology (6.99 percent), urgent care (5.17 percent) and family medicine (5.13 percent).
"The data from the survey provides more evidence that the current Medicare system for the reimbursement and financing of health care is unsustainable. AMGA continues to advocate for changes in the Medicare reimbursement system, including a shift from volume-based to value-based payment models," Donald W. Fisher, PhD, president and CEO of AMGA, said in a press release.
The decline in compensation parallels other troubling trends in radiology, including plummeting demand for imaging specialists, and an observed loss of bargaining power in negotiations with hospitals.
The AMGA 2012 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey provides a financial picture of medical group operations, including compensation, productivity and financial operations data from U.S. healthcare providers. The data represent responses from 225 medical groups and 55,800 providers. The survey data include starting salaries by specialty; medians, means, and percentiles; compensation/productivity ratios; and comparative data from previous surveys, as well as providing analysis by group size and geographic region. The financial data also include medians, capitation impact, accounts receivable analysis and department level analysis.
The 25th annual AMGA compensation and financial survey was conducted by Sullivan, Cotter and Associates.