Average physician net income dropped 3.6% in 1994, the American Medical Association said in its latest report on doctors' compensation.
AMA officials said the latest report was not affected by changes in data gathering. In June 1994, the AMA's House of Delegates approved a plan to begin adding data from federal doctors and medical residents into the association's income calculations to make them more statistically valid and representative of the physician population.
But, in its full report released Dec. 20, 1995, the AMA says the data are the same as they have always been and are comparable to figures from previous years. The AMA says data from federal physicians and residents weren't included in the calculations.
As in previous years, the 1994 figures are based on a sample of about 4,000 physicians in private practice. Some are employed physicians working for salary; some are self-employed, meaning they are owners of a practice; and some are independent contractors. The figures represent net income after practice expenses but before taxes.
According to the AMA, physicians' average net income dropped 3.6% to $182,400 in 1994 from $189,300 in 1993.
The only types of physicians who enjoyed increases in earnings were independent contractors and those in general or family practices. The average net income of independent contractors jumped 5.4% to $168,500, while the average net income of general or family practitioners rose 3.8% to $121,200, according to the AMA.