Physician pay hits a plateau: 7 findings about practice & personal income

As many medical practices struggle to stay solvent, almost half of physicians report their incomes have plateaued over the last year, according to the Physicians Practice annual Physician Compensation Survey.

Physicians Practice surveyed 1,338 physicians, with about 30 percent in solo practices, about 40 percent in group practices (two to nine physicians) and the rest in group practices with more than 10 physicians. About 40 percent of respondents were practice owners, 44.8 percent were employed physicians of a hospital or health system-owned practice and the remaining physicians (about 15 percent) were employees of an independent practice. Highlights from the survey are shown below.

  • Forty-two percent of respondents reported their personal income was about the same as last year. About 16 percent said their income was down by more than 10 percent and 10.3 percent said it was up by more than 10 percent.
  • About 51 percent of respondents described their net incomes from their practice as either slightly or highly disappointing, and 35.5 percent described their net incomes as either excellent or pretty good.
  • Fifteen percent of respondents said patient satisfaction accounts for 11 percent or more of their annual compensation. About 30 percent of physicians said all of their compensation is tied to productivity, while 36 percent said productivity is not a factor of their pay.
  • Physicians said the most popular strategies their practices are taking to boost revenue are increasing the number of patients seen per day (33.3 percent of respondents), taking on work outside of the practice (29.2 percent) and adding ancillary services (23.2 percent).
  • About 35 percent of practice owners predicted their practice's financial viability over the next three years will be mixed, saying their practice isn't growing significantly, but 32.3 percent predicted their financial viability will be robust, describing their practices as thriving. Only 9.5 percent predicted their financial viability will be poor to the point of needing to close their practices' doors within the next three years.
  • About 77 percent of respondents said their practices accept Medicare and 65 percent accept Medicaid. About 74 percent accept patients who purchase insurance plans through health insurance exchanges.
  • Almost half (47.3 percent) of respondents reported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has not affected their practices, while 13.2 percent say they see more patients than ever. About 11 percent of respondents said it has been more difficult to get paid on time by patients since the implementation of the PPACA.

More articles on physician compensation:
Is executive compensation aligned with health system strategy? 10 findings
12% of health systems report no payouts for the annual incentive plans, survey finds
Hospital and health system C-suite base salaries: 12 statistics

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