Varying trends in physicians’ income in 2010

2010 registered a positive trend in terms of increased income for primary care physicians in the US. The increase in income varies according to the specialties i.e. some specialties saw a modest increase in income while others saw a more pertinent rise. The factors which are responsible for these changes in the income vary from the kind of specialty, the reimbursement rate and, to some extent, the location of the physicians. However, at the same time the income has declined to an extent in the case of some specialties.

These key findings have been highlighted by survey based on almost 60,000 physicians across 110 specialties in the United States and conducted by Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)

Let’s have a look at how the physicians’ income has changed in the year 2010

Primary care physicians saw a modest increase of 2.94% in their compensation from 2009 while internists and pediatricians saw their income rise by 4.21% and 0.39% respectively. Dermatologist saw the highest increase in their income at 12.2%, a recurrent feature over the years, probably due in part to their ability to offer elective procedures not routinely included in insurance and secure the complete fee at the time of service. Ophthalmologists, with a hike of 7.7% are apparently cashing in on the rising popularity of laser refractive surgery and other non-covered services.

On the other hand, some specialties such as anesthesiologists, gastroenterologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, invasive cardiology, diagnostic radiologists, and urologists registered a decline in their compensation. In Hematology/oncology the income remained flat, with only a 2.2 percent increase since 2005, due in part to diminished reimbursement for administering drugs.

Location desirability is another factor influencing competition and compensation. According to the survey, physicians practicing in the south reported the highest median earnings, at $216,170 in primary care and $404,000 in specialty care. They were followed by physicians in the Midwest and west. Physicians in the East earned the least, at $194,409 in primary care and $305,575 in specialty care.

The key findings could help in focusing the physicians’ attention on improving their billing and coding operations among other things in order to boost their reimbursement rates and look around for more professional help in the area.

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