Physicians increasingly work in large practices. Two trade organizations for those large practices are the American Medical Group Association and the Medical Group Management Association, each of which has released some data from recent surveys regarding large medical practice compensation and costs. (AMGA Release) (MGMA Release) The AMGA survey is of 269 large medical practices covering 102.000 clinicians. 77% of specialties experienced a compensation increase in 2016-17, with a weighted average of 2.9% versus 3.1% in 2015-16. Primary care specialties had a 3.2% rise, compared to 3.6% in the prior period. The highest gaining specialties were ophthalmology at 7.7%, cardiology at 7% and hematology at 6.7%. Emergency medicine had the greatest increase in 2015-16 at 9.6%, but actually had a decrease of 2% in 2016-17. The respondents generally reported flat productivity and that non-physician costs were rising, resulting in stress on practice finances.
The MGMA survey covered 2900 groups. This survey found that operating expenses rose at the same rate as revenues. Practices with a higher ratio of non-physician clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, had higher productivity and more revenue after operating costs. Practices with less government payment revenue had higher operating costs, but also had much higher revenue per doctor after operating costs. Drug supply expenses rose particularly sharply, by over 10%. And IT expenses also increased, to $14,000 t0 $19,000 per doctor. Together the surveys indicate that while physician pay is rising, so are the costs of being in medical practice.