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Physician Pay Still Slow to Rebound

COMPENSATION is back to pre- pandemic levels for specialists and primary care professionals who—in some cases—saw their pay and income drop amid the spread of COVID-19 throughout 2020 and well into 2021.

But data from companies that analyze medical care provider compensation and salary trends say the pay increases of 2022 and earlier this year in many cases are not keeping up with general inflation aside from the salaries of physicians just starting out as specialists.

Take the 2023 MGMA Provider Compensation and Production report, which reflects data from nearly 190,000 providers across more than 6,800 hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations including those in Illinois and the Chicago area.

Most compensation reports like MGMA’s that are published in 2023 are largely based on 2022 data, but the trend emerging with these analyses show physician pay is far from keeping up with general inflation that rose to nearly 10% last year. In fact, compensation increases for primary care physicians and specialists were generally one-third to one-half of the inflation rate heading into 2023.

“The growth in median total compensation for primary care physicians (PCPs) doubled from 2021 (2.13%) to 2022 (4.41%), but was outpaced by inflation at 7% and 6.5%, respectively, the 2023 MGMA Provider Compensation and Production report released this year showed.

“Productivity remained relatively flat or only slightly increased relative to pre-pandemic benchmarks, with the biggest change in work RVUs (relative value units) posted in dermatology, hematology/oncology, and family medicine (with- out OB),” the report said.

To be sure, surgical specialist pay on average was more than $500,000 in 2019, but took an unprecedented decline, falling 2% to $498,119 in 2020 before rising 3.89% to $517,501 in 2021. Read more here.

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