Physician Compensation Up for 3 in 4 Specialties

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , August 2, 2010

For work relative value units (RVUs), the overall weighted average increase from 2009 to 2010 was approximately 0.8%. For the specialties reviewed by AMGA, the average increase in work RVUs was 1.2% from 2009. Primary care remained flat, other medical specialties increased by 2.7%, and surgical specialties increased by 3.0%, on average. The largest work RVU increases occurred in cardiac and thoracic surgery and otolaryngology.

For gross charges, 65% of the specialties experienced an increase from 2009 to 2010. The overall weighted average increase from 2009 was approximately 2.5%. Gross charges for primary care specialties increased by 4.1% on average, while other medical specialties increased by 1.3% and surgical specialties by 5.6%, on average.

The survey noted that many medical groups were still encountering significant financial challenges. While most regions looked healthier than in 2008, margins were still thin. In 2009, for instance, organizations in the Eastern and Western regions were operating at a break-even point.

Many of the losses seen in 2009 were supplemented by other non?clinical revenue sources and funding from health systems with which groups are associated, Fisher said. Most of the medical groups represented in the survey were part of larger organized systems of care that have made investments in technology, operations, and other care processes, he added.

The 2010 AMGA Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey was sent to more than 2,700 medical groups. Survey responses were received from 248 groups, representing more than 49,700 physicians and 121 specialties.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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