Productivity up, compensation down for diagnostic radiology in 2018

A new survey from AMGA found that physician compensation increased in 2018, but diagnostic radiologists didn’t experience that same bump.

The 2019 Medical Group Compensation and Productivity Survey, which represents more than 117,000 providers, found overall physician compensation increased by a median of 2.92% in 2018, compared to 0.89% in 2017. Productivity (measured in work relative value units (wRVUs), however, rose 0.29% in 2018 compared to the 1.63% drop experienced in 2017.

In diagnostic radiology, compensation was down 1%, from a median of $487,239 in 2017 to $482,599 in 2018. Radiology saw a 5.9% rise in wRVUs, but a compensation per wRVU ratio decrease of 2.2% in 2018.

Among all physicians, the compensation per wRVU ratio increased by 3.64% in 2018.

“The 2019 survey shows that physician compensation in 2018 rebounded from a stagnant 2017,” said Fred Horton, MHA., AMGA Consulting president, in a prepared statement. “While productivity also increased, it did not increase enough to surpass the decline we saw in last year’s survey, meaning productivity still has not risen since 2016.”

Radiology was in the minority as 74% of medical specialties saw an increase in median compensation per wRVU. The only other specialties to experience this decline were hypertension and nephrology (5.5%), infectious disease specialists (2.3%) and cardiology cath lab specialists (0.5%).

“Data from this year’s survey shows compensation is increasing without an equivalent increase in wRVU production for many specialties,” Horton said. “This trend is causing organizations to absorb additional compensation expenses without balancing revenue from production increases. More intentionally transitioning to value-based care is one strategy medical groups can use to mitigate this trend, as it would help them better clarify their organizational strategies and objectives.”