December 1998 Bulletin

Physician income stagnates again

Physicians' compensation has stagnated for the second consecutive year.

Data from the newly released survey found that in 1997, compensation increased 0.86 percent to $235,791 for primary care physicians and slightly decreased 0.48 percent to $220,476 for specialists. The Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 1998 Report Based on 1997 Data, published by the Medical Group Management Association, found that it was the second year of little change in compensation. The 1997 survey showed a 1.42 percent increase for primary care physicians from 1995 to 1996 and a 2.58 percent increase for specialists.

Susan A. Cejka, president, Cejka & Co, which sponsored the report said, "We are seeing overhead beginning to take up a larger share of practice income, mainly because the marketplace is more complex and more expensive to administer practices. Costs are going up, fees are coming down and the physicians are in the middle getting squeezed."

Median income1997 1996-1997 change
All primary care:$135,791 0.86%
Family Practice (without OB)$136,002 2.69
Internal medicine$139,879 -0.09
All specialties$220,476 -0.48
Anesthesiology$243,937 2.60
Cardiology: invasive$326,537 -7.70
Cardiology: Noninvasive$259,961 5.19
Dermatology$176,896 -2.68
Gastroenterology$228,122 1.67
Neurology$160,000 -0.81
Ophthalmology$213,169 3.73
Radiology: Diagnostic$262,900 -2.41
Surgery: General$225,173 0.80
Surgery: Orthopaedic$305,000 -1.76

Source: MGMA

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