- Growth in median total compensation for primary care physicians doubled last year, from pay growth of 2.13% in 2021 to 4.41% in 2022. However, the growth failed to overtake inflation, which increased 7% in 2021 and 6.5% in 2022, according to a survey by the Medical Group Management Association.
- Compensation for family medicine physicians (not including those in obstetrics) increased by 10.57% while urgent care physicians saw a comparably smaller increase at 0.13%.
- Meanwhile, physician-owned practices experienced higher productivity compared with doctors at hospital-owned practices. Nonsurgical specialists collected $172,221 from 185 total encounters compared with $96,580 from 65 total encounters for surgical specialists.
The report highlighted the impact of staffing shortages and inflation on physician compensation. It pulled together data from close to 190,000 providers from more than 6,800 organizations in 2022.
Compensation increased for advanced practice providers, which includes professionals like physician assistants and nurse practitioners. From 2021 to 2022, APP compensation rose 4.08% for surgical nurse practitioners compared with 8.10% for primary care nurse practitioners and 9.22% for primary care physician assistants. In addition, 65% of medical groups plan to add APP roles in 2023, an April MGMA Stat poll revealed.
Regions also affected the size of compensation increases. Pay increased by 11.43% from 2019-2022 for primary care physicians in the West, while it climbed 6.53% in East for PCPs. Meanwhile, primary care compensation rose by 11.29% in the South compared with 7.59% in the Midwest.
Overall, physician salaries have increased in recent years, including a 33% increase for primary care physicians from 2015 to 2022, a Medscape survey found.
Although the MGMA data demonstrated increases in provider compensation, the macroeconomic environment held back compensation from growing further.
Similarly, physician pay took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic with only flat or modest income growth in 2020, MGMA reported in 2021. In addition to inflation and COVID, physician burnout and the rising costs of running a medical practice have contributed to physician payment freezes under Medicare, and members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at reforming the Medicare payment system.
“While provider compensation is trending upward, unpredictable economic conditions continue to hamper salary growth and productivity,” Halee Fischer-Wright, president and chief executive officer at MGMA, said in a statement.
An effective physician retention strategy can enable healthcare professionals to navigate the economic climate, according to Fischer-Wright.
“Healthcare leaders must develop proactive plans and strategically budget for recruiting and retaining the future of their workforce — and this data will help them connect the dots as competition for talent escalates in the face of inflation,” she said.