Practice Size, Specialty Impact Physician Compensation

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imagePhysicians who work in larger practices receive higher compensation when on call than those from smaller practices, reveals a new survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

For example, according to the study, anesthesiologists make $450 per day in groups with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent (FTE) doctors, compared to $660 per day in groups with 26-75 FTE doctors .General surgeons in medical groups with 25 or fewer FTE doctors earn a median of $1,000 per day, and those in groups with 26-75 FTE physicians earn $1,475 per day.

Survey results also indicate that physicians’ specialty can affect their on-call compensation. The highest median daily rate of on-call compensation was reported by invasive cardiologists, at $1,600 per day on call. General surgeons earn a median of $1,150 per day and urologists, $520 per day for on-call coverage. OB/GYN physicians in single-specialty practices collect median compensation that is twice that received by their peers in multi-specialty practices ($500 versus $250, respectively), while a 33% difference in median on-call compensation exists for invasive cardiologists in single-specialty ($1,000 per day) and multispecialty ($750 per day) groups.

Moreover, the study demonstrates, holiday and weekend on-call rates vary by specialty. Nearly all reporting physician specialties receive higher holiday rates than weekend rates. Notably, radiologists collect $700 more for a holiday rate than a weekend rate. Orthopedists’ median holiday compensation is $1,025, and OB/GYN physicians collect a median on-call holiday rate of $125.

Physicians are also more likely to receive daily or annual compensation for on-call hours, according to the study. A total of 35% of providers say they receive on-call compensation daily (for the days they were on call); 21% an annual payment for on-call coverage in 2010.
"Despite the variability of on-call compensation based on location, specialty, group size, and other factors, physicians now are more likely to be compensated for on-call coverage than in the past, and the amount is increasing year to year,” states Jeffrey B. Milburn, of the MGMA's Health Care Consulting Group. "Physicians realize the value of their time and services and are negotiating compensation for on-call coverage."