Survey shows docs busier and making more money

Direct compensation up in most cases

If physicians have the feeling they are doing more than ever, their gut instincts are right. According to the annual Medical Group Compen sation and Productivity Survey by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), median gross production increased in most specialties between 1997 and 1998, and from 1995 to 1998, it increased in all but one category: emergency care.

All that extra work is being rewarded, although not with the same increases as are evident in productivity. Direct compensation increased in most specialties between 1995 and 1998 and in more than half of the measured specialties during the 1997-1998 year (for more information on production and compensation, see tables, p. 114).

The survey, conducted by the national accounting firm McGladrey & Pullen of Minneapolis, questioned 2,600 medical groups around the country. Valid responses came from 115 groups.

Among the other findings were these:

• Most experienced physicians have productivity-based pay arrangements.

• Fifty-nine percent of primary care doctors and 57% of specialty physicians have productivity-based pay.

• A quarter of revenues from responding groups is capitated.

The survey also contains a small section on administrative salaries — much smaller than last year’s survey — and with less information, making comparison of compensation difficult at best. For 1998, total compensation of select administrative positions was:

• $77,220 for chief financial officers;

• $150,000 for medical directors;

• $150,000 for nonphysician administrators, presidents, or chief operating officers;

• $168,600 for physician administrators or chief executive officers;

• $41,405 for public affairs or marketing directors;

• $46,583 for business office managers.

The survey is available for purchase by calling the AMGA at (703) 838-0033.