Family, internal medicine physician compensation up over previous year

A new report from the Medical Group Management Association details primary care income trends. See where you fit in, and learn what the future may hold.

Median earnings for family and internal medicine physicians increased more than 5% in 2011 over 2010, according to the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA’s) Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data.

The organization’s survey of more than 62,000 physician and nonphysician providers in more than 170 specialties found that family doctors had median compensation of $200,114 in 2011, and internists had median income of $215,689. Those amounts represented 5.65% and 5.02% increases in median compensation, respectively, over the previous year.

“There appears to be a growing focus on primary care providers in anticipation of new methodologies in payment, a focus on coordination of care, and the imperative to control utilization and costs in the system,” says former MGMA board memberMichael L. Nochomovitz, MD, president of University Hospitals Physician Services in Cleveland, Ohio. “There is increasing employment of physicians by integrated delivery systems and hospitals, which may also explain these shifts in compensation for primary care physicians.”

Specialists such as radiologists, anesthesiologists, and psychiatrists reported increases in compensation to the organization, but nephrologists, gynecologists, and radiation oncologists reported decreases.

The survey report also sought data on compensation and relative value units (RVUs) for nonphysician providers and found that physician assistants in primary care earned $92,635 in median compensation in 2011.

“Nonphysician providers continue to play a pivotal role in the provision of healthcare services throughout the United States,” says Todd Evenson, director of data solutions for MGMA–American College of Medical Practice Executives. “As demand for primary care practitioners continues to increase, the market will respond by complementing the activities of physicians with the skill set of these and other professionals.”

This year's MGMA compensation report includes demographic information such as geographic location, practice size, number of years in specialty, and ownership status. It also contains various performance ratios illustrating the relationship between compensation and production as well as data on collections for professional charges and work RVUs.

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