Urologists, other specialists see decline in compensation

September 19, 2005

Although overall physician compensation flattened out in 2004, compensation growth for specialty physicians fell behind that of primary care physicians for the first time in several years, according to a report from the Medical Group Management Association.

Although overall physician compensation flattened out in 2004, compensation growth for specialty physicians fell behind that of primary care physicians for the first time in several years, according to a report from the Medical Group Management Association. Urology was one of three specialties showing a decline in compensation from 2003 to 2004, reporting a 2.41% decrease to $335,731.

Specialists reported a 0.18% increase in compensation overall compared with 20.6% overall growth in median compensation over the previous 5 years. Other specialties showing declines were ophthalmology (-6.56%) and orthopedic surgery (-.10%).

The report outlines compensation and production indicators for more than 41,682 providers in 105 physician specialties and 30 non-physician specialties in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. A handful of specialties, including urologists, reported flat or declining compensation levels.

"A lot of factors seem to be contributing to this stagnation," said Daniel P. Stech, director of survey operations for MGMA. "Medicare and other payers are aggressively restraining reimbursement, and hospitals are actively maintaining their revenue sources. Add those factors to the ever-increasing cost of practice, and we're not surprised at these compensation trends."