25 Statistics on Physician Salary and Compensation

Written by Bob Herman


Here are 25 statistics on recent physician salary and compensation trends.

Of the nine different geographic areas in the United States, annual median physician compensation was the highest in the North Central region so far in 2011 at roughly $225,000.

Hospital ownership of an orthopedic surgeon‘s practice could impact the physician’s annual compensation. For example, a spine surgeon at a hospital-owned practice averaged $714,088 while a spine surgeon at a practice that is not hospital-owned earned $633,392.

Roughly 76 percent of physician search assignments in 2010-11 offered a signing bonus, up from 46 percent in 2004-05. The average signing bonus was $23,790.

Of physician specialists in the United States, general surgeons are least satisfied with their compensation while dermatologists feel they are most fairly compensated. General surgeons made an average of $368,108 in 2010 while dermatologists earned an average of $451,953.

Retirement benefits have a wide range from physician specialty to physician specialty. Gastroenterologists (hepatology) averaged $42,287 in annual retirement benefits last year; hip and joint orthopedic surgeons averaged $38,388; anesthesiologists averaged $35,163; and radiologists (diagnostic-invasive) averaged $32,120.

Hospitalists had the greatest average annual compensation in the South based on 2010 data. Hospitalists who specialize in internal medicine, the most common hospitalist specialty, made $249,500 in the South compared with $222,771 in the Midwest, $213,756 in the West and $210,865 in the East.

In 2010, hand surgeons on average received $79,400 more than foot and ankle surgeons. Hand surgeons received an average of $572,945 last year, while foot and ankle surgeons received $493,545.

Neurological and cardiovascular physicians were among the highest paid in various surgical specialties for 2010. Neurological physicians made an average salary of $767,627; cardiovascular-pediatric physicians made $762,846; neurological-pediatric physicians made $643,188; and cardiovascular physicians made $560,659.

Six surgical specialties saw an increase in median compensation from 2010 to 2011. Physicians in emergency medicine earned an average of $268,787 in 2010 and $285,910 in 2011, a 6.37 percent increase, the largest of any surgical specialty.

The three medical specialties that experienced the highest median compensation increases from 2010 to 2011 are the following: endocrinologists, who made $233,000, a 6.46 percent increase from 2010; allergy physicians, who made $265,592, a 6.38 percent increase from 2010; and internal medicine hospitalists, who made $229,294, a 6.29 percent increase from 2010.

13 Legal Issues for Hospitals and Health Systems in 2011

1) Lawsuits against the mandate to buy health insurance.

Since Congress is unlikely to repeal healthcare reform in the face of President Obama’s veto, any repeal in the next two years would have to come through the courts, and that prospect is becoming more likely. A federal judge in Florida became the first to reject the whole law, rather than just its highly unpopular mandate to buy insurance. He concluded the law is not “severable,” meaning if one part is removed, the rest would have to go, too. That’s a legal concept, but it is also an apt description of the interlocking nature of the law’s provisions. Keeping the popular protection for people with pre-existing conditions, for example, requires that everyone have insurance. Without such a mandate, people would have no reason to buy coverage until they got sick.

Physician Integration: Hospital Medical Leaders Share Challenges, Strategies

Healthcare leaders are finding that physician integration will be critical for achieving the increased efficiencies and coordination necessary for meeting healthcare reform standards and for producing savings. Although integral to the formation of accountable care organizations, hospitals are pursuing physician integration regardless of plans to create an ACO because of the changing landscape in healthcare. While these changes are just beginning, several chief medical officers and medical affairs executives share challenges and strategies to establish a successfully integrated system.

A common challenge noted among leaders is the lack of specific information regarding ACOs and other models for physician integration. Sharing knowledge and educating others is thus key to beginning to align physicians with a health system. Kersey Winfree, MD, CMO of Oklahoma City-based SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, says education is needed at both the basic level — what integration means — and at a higher level, addressing the implications of integration and other changes in healthcare delivery