2006 MGMA Physician Compensation Report

Physicians experience nominal pay increases; primary care physicians on unsustainable course

Physicians in primary and specialty care continued to see nominal increases in compensation in 2005, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2006 Report Based on 2005 Data. The report also indicates physicians have increased their patient volume to realize compensation increases that barely keep up with inflation.

MGMA’s physician compensation survey report is one of the most respected benchmarking reports in the industry due to its level of detail, its 19-year history and the rigorous in-house data validation and analysis MGMA devotes to each survey. This year’s report represents data submitted by 1,851 practices that provided information for 44,388 providers – the largest responding physician population of any physician compensation survey report in the United States.

Median compensation for all MGMA primary care physicians rose 3.89 percent, comparable to the previous year’s increase of 3.13 percent. Specialists reported slightly higher compensation gains, with a 6.61 percent overall increase.

Primary care physicians reported a 6.76 percent increase in production (gross charges) in 2005, with pediatricians increasing production by nearly 11 percent. Specialists reported similar increases – 6.54 percent overall – with anesthesiologists and emergency medicine physicians reporting significant increases in production: 18.78 and 17.46 percent respectively.

“Physicians are facing an increasingly unsustainable economic environment, and it shows in their compensation,” said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, president and CEO, MGMA. “Physicians can only see so many patients until we risk deterioration in patient care and satisfaction. We are growing more concerned that primary care has become an undesirable choice for new physicians. As residency slots in primary care go unfilled, practices are pressed to ensure that primary care physicians’ compensation reflects the important work they do.”

Among specialists, urologists experienced only a slight compensation increase of 0.19 percent over last year, when they reported an almost 3 percent decrease. Similarly, pulmonary medicine physicians and neurologists reported modest compensation increases (1.58 and 2.42 percent respectively). Anesthesiologists, invasive cardiologists and emergency room physicians fared better, according to the report.

MGMA’s physician compensation report also contains data regarding starting salaries for new physicians.

By Elizabeth Johnson, MGMA Communications Department

Note: MGMA surveys depend on voluntary participation and may not be representative of the industry. Readers are urged to review the entire survey report when making conclusions regarding trends or other observations

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