Physician compensation growing but at a slightly slower pace


Physicians working in large multispecialty groups saw their compensation increase in 2016, albeit at a slower pace than in 2015, according to survey results reported by AMGA.

The 2017 Medical Group Compensation and Productivity Survey shows that the overall weighted average increase in physician compensation for the calendar year 2016 was 2.9%, slightly lower than the 3.1% increase seen in 2015. Doctors in more than three-quarters (77%) of specialties saw increases in 2016.

In general, primary care doctors saw an increase in compensation of 3.2% in 2016, down from 3.6% in 2015. Other medical specialties saw an average of 2.8% increase in their compensation in 2016, compared with 3.0% in 2015. Surgical specialties saw a slowing of compensation growth, with compensation increasing 2.0% in 2016, down from 3.6% in 2015.

Opthalmologic surgery saw the largest compensation increase at 7.7%, followed by cardiothoracic surgery (7.0%), hematology and medical oncology (6.7%), allergy/immunology (5.9%) and pulmonary disease (5.6%). Emergency medicine saw a decrease in compensation of 2.0% in 2016 after experiencing a 9.6% increase in 2015.

Value-based payment is beginning to factor into the growth in payment by specialty. Overall, about 8% of compensation is being linked to value-based pay, and that number is expected to rise, with some medical practice groups linking 15% or more of compensation to value-based metrics.

β€œIn almost all of the groups that I have worked with in the last few years on [compensation] design, that has been one of the drivers of decision to do the compensation redesign is to allocate to the value-based metrics,” Wayne Hartley, vice president of AMGA Consulting, said in an interview.

Change in median compensation from 2015 to 2016

AMGA said that the data covers responses from 269 medical groups covering more than 102,000 providers and is representative of large multispecialty groups and integrated health systems that average 380 providers per group.

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