Blog | Thursday, March 17, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Academics see slightly higher pay

Academic faculty physicians in primary and specialty care reported slight pay increases, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

Go. by Shayne Kaye via Flickr/Creative Commons licenseThe organization's Academic Practice Compensation and Production Survey for Faculty and Management: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data, annual compensation for internal medicine primary care faculty physicians increased by 6.84% since 2009, and increased 4.46% between 2008 and 2009.

Median compensation for all primary care faculty physicians was $163,704, an increase of 3.47% since 2009, and median compensation for specialty care faculty was $241,959, an increase of 2.7% since 2009.

Department chairs and chiefs received the greatest compensation, $292,243 for primary care faculty and $482,293 for specialty care faculty. Primary care professors received $190,815 in compensation and specialty care professors received $268,786.

"Recently, higher salaries have been required to hire internal medicine faculty. It is the law of supply and demand," said Jonathan Tamir, MBA, associate chairman of Finance & Administration at Yale's Department of Internal Medicine, in a press release.
Other influences include:
--more demand for part-time roles and less for on-call duty,
--increasing demand for more highly paid hospitalists,
--senior physicians who are retiring earlier,
--increasing paperwork,
--decreasing reimbursement,
--the change in the doctor-patient relationship, and
--increasing regulations.

Some specialty care faculty also reported pay increases since 2009. Compensation for pulmonary medicine faculty rose 7.38%, and noninvasive cardiologists' compensation increased 6.7%. Ophthalmologists saw moderate decreases.

Compensation in academic settings continued to trail that in private practices, as is customary.

"Overall, academic practices provide a different environment for their faculty than private practices," Mr. Tamir said. "Even the very best academic clinicians will not be as clinically productive as their private-practice counterparts, since at least some of their time is devoted to research and teaching efforts, which are never as well compensated as clinical care."

This year's report contains data on 18,776 faculty physicians and nonphysician providers categorized by specialty and 1,993 managers.

Unemployment gutted health insurance rates
Despite signs of economic recovery, unemployed people still can't access health insurance, according to a report by The Commonwealth Fund.

Using data from the Commonwealth Biennial Health Insurance Survey of 2010 and prior years, the report examines the effect of the recession on the health insurance coverage of adults between the ages of 19 and 64 and the implications for their finances and access to health care. The survey included 3,033 adults from July to November 2010.

In the last two years, 57% of men and women who lost a job that had health benefits became uninsured. Among other findings:
--24% of working-age adults, an estimated 43 million people, reported a job loss by themselves or a spouse
--among those who reported a job loss, 47% lost health benefits as a result
--among respondents who had health benefits through their lost jobs, 57% became uninsured. One-quarter were able to go on to their spouse's insurance or found another source of coverage. Only 14% continued their coverage through COBRA

Adults who sought coverage on the individual insurance market over the past three years were charged higher premiums, had a health condition excluded from their coverage, or were denied coverage altogether because of a preexisting condition, the report continues. Those who found health insurance had higher deductibles, struggled to pay medical bills, faced cost-related barriers to getting needed care, or skipped or delayed needed care, including prescription medications, because of the cost.

"These survey findings demonstrate that the passage of the Affordable Care Act last year was critical to the future health and well-being of working families," the report said. "As the law's provisions go into effect, the nation's health insurance system will move from one in which 52 million adults suffered a time uninsured in 2010 to one in which few people will be without health insurance, even during a recession."