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Physician Specialties Saw Strong Pay Raises in Past Year

Neonatologists, intensivists, and plastic surgeons had the biggest increases: family physicians come in last….

For the fifth consecutive year, orthopedic surgeons and invasive cardiologists topped the survey in average salary, earning an average of $522,557 and $505,346, respectively. Also for the fifth straight year, family physicians and pediatricians finished last and second-to-last, earning an average of $209,050 and $209,986, respectively. 

In last year’s survey, 10 specialties saw decreases in average compensation. This year, only three specialties saw their average pay fall: anesthesia, to $385,977 from $387,780 (-0.5%); obstetrics/gynecology, to $298,468 from $304,022 (-1.8%); and noninvasive cardiologists, to $402,619 from $421,341 (-4.4%). For anesthesiologists, it was the second straight year with a decline, with last year’s survey showing a 1.5% decrease.

Along with psychiatrists, primary-care physicians occupied the bottom rungs on the survey based on average salary, but all saw healthy increases in compensation. Internists saw their compensation increase an average of 6.2%; hospitalists saw their pay increase an average 4.7%; while pediatricians and family physicians saw average increases of 3.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Justin Chamblee, vice president of the Coker Group, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based healthcare consultancy, says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a major influence on strong primary-care compensation gains. "I think a lot of what we see now is being driven by the ACA," Chamblee says. "Reform is focused on primary care. Primary care is the foundation, and there is a focus on getting the foundation set correctly."

20th Annual Modern Healthcare Physician Compensation Survey.