Urologists, other specialists see modest increases in compensation

November 6, 2008

Urology and most other medical and surgical specialties saw modest increases in compensation in 2007, but many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss, according to findings from the American Medical Group Association?s 2008 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

Urology and most other medical and surgical specialties saw modest increases in compensation in 2007, but many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss, according to findings from the American Medical Group Association’s 2008 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

Urology posted the second-highest increase in compensation among specialists at 4.5%, surpassed only by cardiac and thoracic surgery, whose compensation jumped 8.11%. Overall, the survey found that 91% of the specialties experienced increases in compensation, with the overall average increase around 3.5%. The primary care specialties saw about a 3.2% increase in 2007, while other medical and surgical specialties averaged around 3.7%.

“The survey indicates that compensation increases continue to fluctuate only marginally for most specialties,” said Donald W. Fisher, PhD, of the American Medical Group Association. “With 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, this situation is clearly unsustainable.”

The section of the survey that examines financial operations found that medical groups were operating at an average loss of $4,728 per physician, reflecting a major overall downturn from 2006. Again in 2007, on average, only organizations in the Western United States were operating at a profit ($4,453 per physician), though profits were significantly down.

Median work relative value units matched compensation in most cases. Among surgical specialties, cardiac and thoracic surgery led the pack with 33.2%, followed by urology (13.62%) and OB/GYN (10.66%). In terms of median gross charges, cardiac and thoracic surgery again posted the largest increase (15.97%) among surgical disciplines, followed by emergency medicine (6.17%), general surgery (4.88%), and urology (4.02%).