The Medical Group Management Association issues regular reports on physician compensation and other issues of concern to the medical profession. It recently released a report covering doctor compensation for 2018. (MGMA Report) The report covered responses from 147,000 physicians and 5500 organizations with non-physician clinicians. For primary care doctors, median compensation rose 3.4% from 2017 to 2018, while for specialists it grew 4.4% and for physician assistants and nurse practitioners, 2.9%. Some specialties saw higher increases; radiologists had a 7.7%, ob/gyn doctors a 7.7% one, neurosurgeons and cardiologists, 7.5% and general neurologists 6.7%. Over a five year period from 2014 to 2018, primary care pay increased 10%, specialist pay 8% and non-doctor clinicians’ by 10%. During this time median total compensation nationally rose from $240,000 to $253,000 for primary care doctors and from $410,000 to $440,000 for specialists. Total median compensation is quite lucrative for some specialties. Cardiologists have a median total pay of $500,000; neurologists, $300,000; ob/gyn, $300,000; radiologists, $510,000 and neurosurgeons, $880,000.
Median guaranteed compensation for newly hired physicians rose dramatically–for ER doctors the rise was 40%, from $207,000 to $291,000; for non-invasive cardiologists, 21%, from $400,000 to $ 485,000; and for urologists, 20%, from $312,000 to $375,000. Physicians in the Midwest and South saw the largest compensation gains, while those in the East experienced the lowest. The lowest paying states for primary care physicians are Ohio, Maryland, Maine and Alabama; while the highest paying are Nebraska, Nevada and Tennessee. For non-surgical specialists, the lowest paying are New York, Massachusetts, and Maine and the highest are Nebraska, Mississippi and Iowa. There is a wide range in median compensation across the states, which may be due to competitive factors or the perceived desirability of an area, but does not appear to be strongly linked to cost-of-living.