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Specialties See Modest Compensation Increases in '09

But provider organizations still operating at a loss; compensation in North down substantially

FRIDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Most medical specialties saw modest compensation increases in 2009, but many provider organizations are still operating at a substantial loss, according to the findings of the American Medical Group Association's (AMGA) 2010 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

The annual survey provides compensation, productivity, and financial operations data on roughly 49,700 U.S. health care providers across 121 specialties, 31 other health care provider positions, and 27 administrative positions.

Compared with 2008 data, when 81 percent of specialties saw an average increase of around 3.5 percent, in 2009 76 percent of specialties had a compensation increase averaging about 3.8 percent. Primary care and surgical specialties both had an increase of about 3.8 percent, and other medical specialties had an average increase of 2.4 percent. The specialties with the largest increases in compensation were urology, dermatology, and pulmonary disease, at 6.36, 7, and 10.37 percent, respectively. Provider organizations in the East and West were operating at break even and those in the South operated at a loss (−$1,034 per physician), while those in the North experienced even greater losses (−$9,943 per physician).

"The survey indicates that compensation continues to fluctuate only marginally for most specialties," Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of AMGA, said in a statement. "The modest increases seen this year reflect the negative impact of declining reimbursements, competition for specialists, the cost of new technology, and other factors on practice revenues in most parts of the country."

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