The highest median compensation figures reported among the 15 specialties that MGMA publicly reported were for: orthopedic surgery, $514,659; invasive cardiology $500,993; and diagnostic radiology, $471,253. The lowest median rates of compensation released were for the three primary-care specialties: family practice (without obstetrics/gynecology), $189,402; pediatric/adolescent medicine, $192,148; and internal medicine, $205,379.
Although they had the third-lowest level of median compensation, internists also saw a 4.21% rise in pay, which was the third-highest percentage increase. Emergency medicine specialists—who had median compensation of $277,297—had a 5.65% increase, which was the largest in the survey. The second-biggest increase was seen by neurologists, whose median compensation rose 5.02% to $249,867.
The biggest decrease in median compensation was the 4.66% drop experienced by urologists, who saw their median compensation fall to $372,455. Median compensation fell 2.2% for ophthalmologists down to $330,784; and 1.58% for diagnostic radiologists, down to $471,253.
As calculated by the Consumer Price Index, the rate of inflation for 2010 was 1.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By region, the East had the lowest median compensation levels for both primary care and specialties, at $194,409 and $305,575. Highest compensation was in the South, with primary-care doctors getting paid a median of $216,170 and specialists receiving $404,000.
“Location desirability is another factor influencing competition and compensation," said Jeffrey Milburn with the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group in the release. "Some areas have a much higher ratio of physicians to population, and one might think this would lead to increased competition and lower compensation. But, the usual laws of supply and demand aren't always at work in healthcare.”