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Radiologists’ Compensation Went Down In 2010

June 17, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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It didn’t pay quite as much to be a radiologist last year, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Earlier this week, MGMA released some teaser information from its Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data. The full report goes on sale next month ($320 for MGMA members, $575 for nonmembers).

The report says radiologists earned median compensation in 2010 of $471,253, a decrease of 1.58 percent from the 2009 figure. In contrast, physicians working in internal medicine earned median compensation of $205,379, which was a yearly increase of 4.21 percent.

Long term, the news for radiologists wasn’t much better. Compensation increased only 5.54 percent from 2006 to 2010, the third-smallest increase among the 12 specialties mentioned in the news release (ahead of only urologists, at 4.15 percent, and obstetrician/gynecologists, at 3.60 percent). Adjusted for inflation, radiology compensation was down 3.17 percent from 2009 to 2010 and down 2.42 percent from 2006 to 2010.

On the other hand, the median compensation of $471,253 trailed only that of cardiologists who do invasive procedures ($500,993) among the same 12 specialties.

Compensation among both primary care physicians and specialists was highest in the South, lowest in the East.

“A number of factors may attribute to regional differences in physician compensation,” said Jeffrey B. Milburn of MGMA’s Health Care Consulting Group. “The supply and demand for primary care or specialty physicians may influence compensation. A high level of competition between groups or specific specialties may provide an opportunity for payers to reduce reimbursement. In states where payers have little competition, reimbursement and subsequent physician compensation may be lower.”

Milburn added:

Location desirability is another factor influencing competition and compensation. 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 health care.

MGMA has been doing these reports for more than 25 years. This year’s edition provides data on nearly 60,000 providers in more than 150 specialties. MGMA notes that the surveys depend on voluntary participation and thus “may not be representative of the industry.”

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