Compensation increases for most medical specialties in 2006 did not keep up with inflation, according to a Medical Group Management Association survey of 2,334 medical practices representing a total of about 52,000 physicians.
While the consumer price index saw a 3.2% increase in 2006, primary-care physicians saw their median compensation grow by only 2.03%: to $171,519 from $168,111, even as they reported a 3.7% increase in gross charges. For specialists, median compensation rose 1.78% to $322,259 from $316,620; while gross charges went up 2.3%.
MGMA President and Chief Executive Officer William Jessee said in a news release that the effect on patients will be that their doctors will be seeing more patients for less money.
In all, compensation increases for 60% of the specialties included in the survey did not match the rate of inflation. This included ophthalmologists, whose median pay declined 1.6% to $297,486 from $302,321; invasive cardiologists, whose median pay dropped 1.34% to $457,563 from $463,801; and noninvasive cardiologists, whose median pay fell 0.84% to $367,704 from $370,807.
On the positive side, pulmonary medicine specialists saw median compensation rise 9.16% to $255,807 from $234,336; urologists median pay increased 6.31% to $357,605 from $336,364; and gastroenterologists median pay went up 5.81% to $406,345 from $384,015.
For the first time, the survey included information on bariatric surgeons and urgent-care family practice. The median compensation for those two specialties was $305,488 and $171,219, respectively. -- by Andis Robeznieks