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Radiologist salaries down almost 2 percent

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 16, 2011
Median salaries for radiologists fell one and a half percent last year yet radiology still remained one of the highest-paid specialties, according to an upcoming doctors' salary survey.

In a preview of its 2011 Physician Compensation and Production Survey, to be printed in July, the Medical Group Management Association said radiologists earned a median income of $471,253 in 2010, down 1.58 percent from 2009. Adjusted for inflation, radiologists' median salary fell 3.17 percent, MGMA said.

The inflation rate for 2009 to 2010 was 1.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MGMA said salary movement overall was mixed, with anesthesiologists and gastroenterologists reporting a small decline in pay, but neurologists, psychiatrists, dermatologists and general surgeons reporting an increase.

Emergency medicine specialists saw the biggest jump in data shared so far, earning $277,297 in 2010, up 5.65 percent from the year before. Urologists saw the steepest decline, earning $372,455 in 2010, down 4.66 percent from the past year.

Regional variations in compensation also turned up. Doctors in the Southern region reported earning the highest pay, with primary care physicians earning a median $216,170, and specialists a median $404,000, MGMA said. Eastern region doctors reported the lowest, at $194,409 for primary care and $305,575 for specialists.

Competition between doctors and between payers, supply and demand for physicians and specialists and even the attractiveness of the location all influence regional differences in pay, said Jeffrey B. Milbur, with the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group.

"Some areas have a much higher ratio of physicians to population, and one might think this would lead to increased competition and lower compensation. But, the usual laws of supply and demand aren't always at work in health care," he said in a statement.

The annual survey, which has been running for 25 years, reports on nearly 60,000 providers in more than 150 specialties. MGMA, based in Englewood, Colo., said it was the largest doctor salary survey in the country, but cautioned that doctor participation was voluntary, so the results might not be representative of the industry.

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