Physician-Generated Hospital Revenue vs. Salary: 48 Statistics

Newly recruited physicians offer a lot of potential for hospitals, especially as the scramble for physician practices ensues. Physicians are able to support the hospital's mission of providing quality care across a broad spectrum of specialties, and they are able to engender financial benefits by creating downward revenue that helps keep service lines profitable while covering any of their practices' losses, if applicable.

One of the key cogs that links physicians to hospital revenue is compensation: If a physician brings in more business and enhances the scope of the hospital's care, how are they getting paid?

Merritt Hawkins, a physician search and consulting firm, conducted a survey in 2010 that showed the net annual revenue generated by physicians in several specialties on behalf of their affiliated hospitals. The 2010 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey has been a leading benchmark for hospitals to see how physicians impact the revenue of different service lines, and Phil Miller, media associate at Merritt Hawkins, says the firm will be conducting a 2012 survey of physician-generated revenue, due out this fall.

For the 2010 survey, Merritt Hawkins received responses from 114 hospital and health system CFOs. The CFOs indicated the combined net inpatient and outpatient revenue generated annually for their facilities by a single, full-time equivalent physician across several specialties. Revenue was represented by procedures performed at the hospital, tests and treatments ordered and other factors. (For primary care physicians, hospital CFOs were asked to determine revenue generated from direct admissions, procedures performed, lab tests, etc., but not from indirect revenue primary care physicians may have generated from patient referrals to specialists utilizing the hospital.)

Looking at the physician-generated revenue by specialty and the related salaries for those physicians can reveal patterns insight on where emphasis is being placed on different hospital physician specialties.

Out of the 17 specialties in the survey, neurosurgeons were far ahead in revenue generated, salary and revenue-to-compensation ratio. The median 2010 generated hospital revenue for neurosurgeons was nearly $2.82 million, and they were paid on average $571,000. That means for every $1 neurosurgeons received in compensation, they brought in $4.93 of revenue into the hospital.

Orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons were the next group of physicians that generated the most revenue for hospitals. Orthopedic surgeons brought in an average of $2.12 million in revenue, while general surgeons were not far behind at $2.11 million. However, their compensation levels varied drastically. Orthopedic surgeons made $481,000 in salary, while general surgeons earned $321,000. For every $1 of compensation, orthopedic surgeons generated $4.40 in hospital revenue. General surgeons, on the other hand, were compensated $1 for every $6.58 of generated revenue, roughly 1.5 times the amount of both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.

General surgeons were not the only set of physicians that had revenue-to-compensation ratios higher than 6.5 to 1. Family practice physicians and internal medicine physicians had ratios of 9.38 to 1 and 9.02 to 1, respectively. Primary care physicians have traditionally been compensated less than surgical specialties, and the data reinforces this trend even though they bring in a lot of money (each generated more than $1.6 million on average).

Nephrologists and ophthalmologists had the lowest amounts of average generated revenue at an annual average of $696,888 and $842,711, respectively. Nephrology is a very specialized field, and ophthalmology is more commonly found in ambulatory surgery centers than hospitals. Because of their low revenue totals, both specialties saw more personal income per dollar of revenue generated ($1 of compensation for every $2.90 in revenue for nephrology and $1 of compensation for every $2.99 for ophthalmology).

Here are all 48 statistics across 16 specialties on physician-generated hospital revenue, hospital salaries for physician and their corresponding revenue-to-compensation ratios based on data from Merritt Hawkins' 2010 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey.

Cardiologists (invasive)

Median 2010 revenue: $2,240,366
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $475,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 4.72:1

Cardiologists (noninvasive)

Median 2010 revenue: $1,319,658
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $419,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 3.15:1

Family practice physicians

Median 2010 revenue: $1,622,832
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $173,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 9.38:1

Gastroenterologists

Median 2010 revenue: $1,450,540
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $393,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 3.69:1

General surgeons

Median 2010 revenue: $2,112,492
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $321,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 6.58:1

Hematologists/medical oncologists

Median 2010 revenue: $1,485,627
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $335,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 4.43:1

Internal medicine physicians

Median 2010 revenue: $1,678,341
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $186,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 9.02:1

Nephrologists

Median 2010 revenue: $696,888
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $240,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 2.9:1

Neurologists

Median 2010 revenue: $907,317
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $258,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 3.52:1

Neurosurgeons

Median 2010 revenue: $2,815,650
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $571,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 4.93:1

Obstetricians/gynecologists

Median 2010 revenue: $1,364,131
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $266,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 5.13:1

Ophthalmologists

Median 2010 revenue: $842,711
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $282,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 2.99:1

Orthopedic surgeons

Median 2010 revenue: $2,117,764
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $481,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 4.4:1

Pediatricians

Median 2010 revenue: $856,154
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $171,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 5.01:1

Pulmonologists

Median 2010 revenue: $1,204,919
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $293,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 4.11:1

Urologists

Median 2010 revenue: $1,382,704
Median 2010 hospital compensation: $401,000
Revenue-to-compensation ratio: 3.45:1

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