What's Included and Not Included in Physician Compensation Survey Data?

Physician compensation survey data is normally distributed to eager eyes waiting to see the current benchmarks, but a comprehensive look of the actual underlying content in those surveys could prove to be valuable, according to an article from VMG Health (pdf).

Jonathan Helm, a manager in the professional services agreements division of VMG Health, wrote that the definition of "total compensation" must be thoroughly examined to understand how survey data should be read.

For example, according to the 2011 Medical Group Management Association Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data, physician compensation was defined as all "compensation on a W2, 1099 or K1 [for partnerships] plus all voluntary salary reductions such as 401(k), 403(b), Section 125 Tax Savings Plan and Medical Savings Plan. The amount reported should include salary, bonus and/or incentive payments, research stipends, honoraria and distribution of profits."

While that type of salary data is usually included in physician compensation surveys, components that are usually left out or listed separately are physician benefits, retirement contributions, payrolls taxes, cost of malpractice insurance and fringe benefits like automobile expense or cell phone stipends.

"Survey data can be confusing and easily misused," Mr. Helm wrote. "Whenever a question arises about the underlying contents of the survey data, it is always best to research the issue or simply pose the question to a physician compensation valuation expert."

More Articles on Physician Compensation:

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