Faculty physicians at academic medical centers are putting more hours into clinical practice to help medical schools keep up financially, while 10-year trends also show relatively flat increases in physician compensation.
Those are among the findings of the new Medical Group Management Association report on compensation and productivity at the nations teaching hospitals. The report, released last week, said that from 1996-2006, academic primary-care physicians compensation rose only 7.83% while specialists compensation increased 15.43%.
MGMA Vice President of Practice Management Resources David Gans noted that this equals annual increases of 1% to 3%, which does not keep up with inflation.
This is a telling point when it comes to recruiting individuals, Gans said. Doctors do earn a good salary, but they also earn that salary by working incredibly hard with a long workweek and a lot of stress. This is a potential loss for the United States; youd hope that the best and brightest would be the ones taking care of us and our parents.
Gans said there is a general trend of faculty physicians spending less time teaching or conducting research and more time with patients as medical schools look for more revenue because state financial support and federal research money is decreasing or remaining flat, he said.
They are increasing medical clinical revenue through productivity or expanding areas of expertise and becoming a national center of excellence, Gans said.
He added that being a fully tenured professor at a medical school has a great emotional benefit for doctors who enjoy teaching and conducting research. Therefore many are willing to work for less compensation than physicians in private practice, Gans said, but only to a certain point.
The report from the Englewood, Colo.-based MGMA is based on responses from 528 practices (out of 2,019 surveys sent) representing more than 15,000 faculty physicians in 108 specialties. Data from the Web-based survey were collected in September 2006.