MGMA: Doctor pay is increasingly tied to outcomes

Doctor pay increased in primary care, specialties

Compensation for U.S. doctors rose only slightly in 2012 and was increasingly based on patients' outcomes and experiences, according to a new Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) report.

For the report, MGMA researchers surveyed 60,146 health care providers in more than 170 specialties at 3,811 medical organizations.

Doctors see slight increase in pay

The report found that annual compensation for the average primary care physician increased from $212,840 in 2011 to $220,942 in 2012.

Meanwhile, specialists saw their average compensation increase from $384,467 in 2011 to $396,233 in 2012. According to the report, specialist pay ranged from $532,269 for cardiologists to $301,000 for obstetricians.

Pay is linked to quality, patient experience

The report found that doctors are beginning to see parts of their salaries linked to "quality metrics" as organizations prepare for the full rollout of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Overall, about 3% of primary care physician compensation and 2% of specialist compensation was tied to quality metrics in 2012.

"Quality and patient satisfaction metrics are not yet dominant components of physician compensation plans right now... [H]owever, as reimbursement models continue to shift, the small changes we've observed recently will gain momentum," MGMA President and CEO Susan Turney says (Japsen, Forbes, 6/12; Landen, Modern Physician, 6/12 [subscription required]; MGMA release, 6/12).

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