Doctors in nearly 70% of medical specialties saw their income rise last year, although those increases were "marginal," according to the physician advocates who released the findings.
AMGA: 'Marginal' pay bumps for docs last year
Sixty-nine percent of physician specialties saw income increases in 2010, compared with 76% who did in 2009 and 81% who did in 2008, according to the American Medical Group Association's 2011 income survey. The 2010 increases averaged about 2.4%, compared with about 3.8% in the previous year.
Primary-care physicians saw a 2.6% pay bump in 2010, while doctors in other specialties averaged a 2.4% increase and surgical specialists received a 3.8% boost. Their payments reflected some of the same slowdown from 2009, when pay for primary-care and surgical specialists increased 3.8% and other medical specialties saw their pay increase 2.4%.
The largest increases came for allergists (6.38%), emergency-medicine physicians (6.37%) and internal-medicine hospitalists (6.29%).
Separately, the survey found that providers in every region of the country were operating at a loss, based on the median operating margin per physician. The biggest operating loses were in the East (-$10,669 per physician); the smallest losses were in the West (-$1,597 per physician).
A majority of practices were able to sustain such losses without going out of business, according to an AMGA spokesman, only because the vast majority of the respondent practices were part of much larger healthcare entities that were covering those shortfalls.
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