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Urology ranks fifth among highest-paying specialties

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Urology ranks fifth among specialties in terms of salary, with an average annual salary of $380,000 and a median of $325,520, according to a new survey from Martin, Fletcher, a national health care recruiting and consultancy firm.

Urology ranks fifth among specialties in terms of salary, with an average annual salary of $380,000 and a median of $325,520, according to a new survey from Martin, Fletcher, a national health care recruiting and consultancy firm.

Topping the list was invasive cardiology (average, $460,000), followed by radiology ($425,000), orthopedic ($424,000), and gastroenterology ($405,000).

In the annual physician compensation survey, consultants evaluated more than 3,500 individual physicians’ salaries across 17 medical specialties. A majority of respondents, 58%, were physicians in private practice, and the balance were hospitals offering income guarantees or employment to physicians, academics, and others. The top three incentives used by medical groups to recruit physicians include production-driven incomes starting at year one, buy-in based on accounts receivable, and full pension for retirement, the survey showed.

A separate report from Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, a national physician search and consulting firm, found that the average base income salary offer to urologists jumped from $320,000 in 2005-06 to $400,000 in 2006-07. At 25%, this marked the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the specialties surveyed.

A growing number of hospitals are employing physicians, according to the Merritt, Hawkins report, which is based on more than 3,000 physician, certified nurse anesthetist, and select allied professional search and consulting assignments conducted by the firm from April 2006 to April 2007. Hospitals offered employment to physicians in 43% of the searches the firm conducted, up from just 23% the previous year.

“Physicians have long prized their independence,” said Joseph Hawkins, of Merritt, Hawkins. “But, today, they are more willing to exchange independence for the security and convenience of hospital employment.”

Physicians are accepting positions with hospitals in order to avoid the hassles of private practice, which include high malpractice premiums and struggles for reimbursement, Hawkins said.

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