Urologists' compensation up in 2009, but many operate at a loss

August 12, 2010

Despite modest increases in compensation experienced by urology and most other specialties, many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss, according to findings from the American Medical Group Association?s 2010 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

Despite modest increases in compensation experienced by urology and most other specialties, many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss, according to findings from the American Medical Group Association’s 2010 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

The survey found that 76% of specialties experienced increases in compensation in 2009, with the overall average increase around 3.8%. The primary care specialties saw about a 3.8% increase in 2009 (same in 2008), while other medical specialties averaged an increase of 2.4% and increases for surgical specialties averaged around 3.8%. The survey found that during 2009, the specialties experiencing the largest increases in compensation were pulmonary disease (10.37%), dermatology (7%), and urology (6.36%).

"The survey indicates that compensation continues to fluctuate only marginally for most specialties," said Donald W. Fisher, PhD, of AMGA. "The modest increases seen this year reflect the negative impact of declining reimbursements, competition for specialists, the cost of new technology, and other factors on practice revenues in most parts of the country."

The section of the survey that examines financial operations found that medical groups were still faced with significant financial challenges. Most regions were doing better than in 2008, but margins are thin. In 2009, organizations in the Eastern and Western regions were operating at break even. Organizations in the Southern region continued to operate at a loss (–$1,034 per physician in 2009 compared to –$120 per physician in 2008). Groups in the Northern region continued to experience significant losses (–$9,943 per physician in 2009 vs. –$3,254 per physician in 2008).