Compensation Issues

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2015 physician total cash compensation by specialty

Primary care physicians this year are experiencing bigger increases in total cash compensation than their specialist peers, according to the 2015 "Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey" from Minneapolis-based Sullivan, Cotter and Associates.

Combined with other findings in the survey, this may suggest the trend toward value-based, coordinated care — which puts primary care physicians in the driver's seat — could be starting to take hold. According to SullivanCotter, Primary care physicians saw a 3.4 percent median increase in total cash compensation between 2011 and 2015, compared to medical and surgical specialists, who saw 2.5 percent and 2.3 percent increases, respectively.

The table below breaks down median total cash compensation in 2015 by physician specialty and is ranked in order of highest to lowest percent change over last year, as presented by SullivanCotter. The information is based on data from 560 organizations and nearly 115,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

Physician specialty

Percent change 2014 to 2015

2015 median total cash compensation

Urgent Care

11 percent


Psychiatry, General

9 percent


Anatomic and Clinical Pathology

8 percent


Otolaryngology, General

8 percent


Internal Medicine

7 percent


Family Practice

7 percent



6 percent



6 percent


Emergency Medicine

5 percent


Orthopedic Surgery, General

5 percent



4 percent


Cardiology, General

4 percent


Pediatrics, General

4 percent


Surgery, General

3 percent



3 percent



3 percent



3 percent


Diagnostic Radiology

1 percent



1 percent



-2 percent



More articles on compensation issues:

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8 top earning physician specialties in 2014

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