111 statistics on physician compensation | 2021

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With America's projected physician shortage and the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep tabs on how physician compensation is evolving. 

In a report released Aug. 9, physician search and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins said it conducted more searches for nurse practitioners (335) than for any other provider type from April 2020 to March 2021. Still, specialist physicians made up 64 percent of the firm's search engagements over the 12 months. Tom Florence, president of Merritt Hawkins, partially attributed this to the growing number of older patients who require the services of specialists.

While some physicians have seen their median compensation climb, median compensation for many physician specialties remained flat or declined.

The following statistics provide a view of physician compensation.

Note: Several surveys were used to compile this report. More information is provided at the end of the report. 

Median compensation 

Anesthesiologists: $453,683 (2.57 percent decrease from 2020)
Cardiologists (general): $518,750 (2.63 percent decrease from 2020)
Dermatologists: $506,276 (1.59 percent increase from 2020)
Endocrinologists: $274,402 (0.22 percent increase from 2020)
Emergency room physicians: $380,099 (0.58 percent increase from 2020)
Family medicine physicians: $273,291 (1.27 percent increase from 2020)
Gastroenterologists: $538,908 (0.74 percent decrease from 2020)
General surgeons: $439,196 (2.69 percent decrease from 2020)
Internal medicine physicians: $288,558 (0.05 percent decrease from 2020)
Neurologists: $325,278 (1.25 percent increase from 2020)
OB-GYN: $357,266 (0.66 percent decrease from 2020)
Hematology and medical oncology: $462,644 (1.39 percent decrease from 2020)
Ophthalmologists: $416,333 (1.14 percent decrease from 2020)
Orthopedic surgeons: $626,297 (0.89 percent decrease from 2020)
Pediatricians: $255,352 (0.81 percent decrease from 2020)
Psychiatrists: $299,250 (0.54 percent decrease from 2020)
Pulmonary Disease (With Critical Care): $418,382 (1.41 percent decrease from 2020)
Rheumatologists: $278,416 (0.48 percent increase from 2020)
Urologists: $500,698 (2.82 percent increase from 2020) 

Median work relative value unit 

Anesthesiologists: 10,842
Cardiologists (general): 6,896
Dermatologists: 6,447
Endocrinologists: 4,471
Emergency room physicians: 6,111
Family medicine physicians: 4,575
Gastroenterologists: 6,787
General surgeons: 6,025
Internal medicine physicians: 4,413
Neurologists: 4,253
OB-GYN: 6,317
Hematologists/Oncologists: 4,357
Ophthalmologists: 7,381
Orthopedic surgeons: 7,431
Pediatricians: 4,605
Psychiatrists: 3,574
Pulmonary disease (with critical care): 5,744
Rheumatologists: 4,315
Urologists: 7,093 

Mean compensation for men and women 

Primary care — men: $269,000
Primary care — women: $211,000
Specialists —men: $376,000
Specialists — women: $283,000

Mean incentive bonus 

Orthopedic surgeons: $116,000
Ophthalmologists: $87,000
Otolaryngologists: $72,000
Urologists: $72,000
Cardiologists: $71,000
Radiologists: $69,000
Gastroenterologists: $60,000
Anesthesiologists: $55,000
OB-GYN and women's health: $48,000
General surgeons: $47,000
Emergency medicine physicians: $44,000
Pathologists: $42,000
Critical care physicians: $41,000
Neurologists: $39,000
Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians: $37,000
Family medicine physicians: $27,000
Internal medicine physicians: $26,000
Pediatricians: $26,000
Psychiatrists: $24,000  

Highest offered signing bonuses 

Family medicine physicians: $240,000
Radiologists: $50,000
Psychiatrists: $75,000
Internal medicine physicians: $100,000

Lowest offered signing bonuses 

Family medicine physicians: $2,500
Radiologists: $10,000
Psychiatrists: $1,000
Internal medicine physicians: $5,000 

Highest-paying states for physicians by mean compensation 

Alabama: $348,000 
Kentucky: $340,000
Oklahoma: $338,000
Indiana: $337,000
Missouri: $332,000
South Carolina: $332,000
Florida: $331,000
Georgia: $330,000
Iowa: $330,000
Tennessee: $329,000 

Highest offered base salary
(Bonuses and benefits not included)

Family medicine physicians: $400,000
Radiologists: $825,000
Psychiatrists: $400,000
Internal medicine physicians: $500,000
OB-GYN: $750,000
Anesthesiologists: $750,000
Hematologists/Oncologists: $1 million
Gastroenterologists: $750,000
Cardiologists (non-invasive): $700,000
Cardiologists (interventional): $1 million
Neurologists: $850,000
Orthopedic surgeons: $1 million
Dermatologists: $1 million
Pulmonologists: $650,000
Pediatricians: $400,000
Endocrinologists: $325,000

Lowest offered base salary
(Bonuses and benefits not included)

Family medicine physicians: $180,000
Radiologists: $150,000
Psychiatrists: $185,000
Internal medicine physicians: $170,000
OB-GYN: $207,000
Anesthesiologists: $245,000
Hematologists/Oncologists: $180,000
Gastroenterologists: $125,000
Cardiologists (non-invasive): $350,000
Cardiologists (interventional): $400,000
Neurologists: $215,000 
Orthopedic surgeons: $300,000
Dermatologists: $200,000
Pulmonologists: $250,000
Pediatricians: $180,000
Endocrinologists: $200,000

Statistics are based on the following:

Median compensation and median work RVUs are from the American Medical Group Association's (AMGA) "2021 Medical Group Compensation and Productivity Survey," a 2021 report based on 2020 data. The nationwide survey includes data from 398 medical groups, representing more than 190,000 providers from 168 physician, advanced practice clinician and other specialties. Compensation includes base salary, plus variable compensation and voluntary compensation reductions. It excludes retirement benefits, pension, SERP or tax-deferred profit-sharing plans. Work relative value units are units of value based on time, skill, training and intensity of administered services, using the CMS scale.

Mean compensation for men and women, mean incentive bonus and highest-paying states by mean compensation are from Medscape's "Physician Compensation Report 2021." The report is based on responses from surveys of about 18,000 U.S. physicians in more than 29 specialties. Data was collected from Oct. 6, 2020, through Feb. 11, 2021. Compensation from this report includes base salary, bonuses and profit-sharing contributions. 

Highest and lowest offered base salary figures, as well as highest and lowest signing bonuses, are from the Merritt Hawkins "2021 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives." The review is based on 2,458 permanent physician and advanced practitioner search assignments that were ongoing or conducted by Merritt Hawkins/AMN Healthcare's physician staffing companies from April 2020 to March 2021. 

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