Primary care physician compensation rose more sharply in 2022 than a year earlier, but the increase was not enough to offset last year’s inflationary pressures.
Average total compensation for primary care physicians increased by 4.41% last year, compared with 2.13% in 2021, according to a Health Group Management Association analysis released on Wednesday. The year is based on data from more than 190,000 doctors.
Consumer prices on an unadjusted basis rose 6.5% in the 12 months ended December, according to the Labor Department.
Primary care physicians have the largest pay increases among surgical and non-surgical specialists as well as advanced practice physicians.
However, primary care physicians still among the lowest paid of all majorsthe result is relatively few medical school graduates primary care professionals and exacerbate shortagesespecially in rural areas.
Primary care physicians have has long lobbied the federal government to increase physician fees, especially as the number of non-urgent surgeries declines during the pandemic and doctors continue to grapple with higher costs. While Spending bills passed late last year slowed Medicare pay cuts for doctors by 2023, from 4.5% to 2%, lobbying groups say Congress should block the pay cut. The American Medical Association said doctors may be forced to rely more on commercially insured patients and limit care to Medicare beneficiaries.
Here are five takeaways from the report:
- Primary care physician salaries vary by region. Suppliers in the South and West regions experienced the largest increase in compensation from 2019 to 2022. Compensation increased by 11.4% in the West region, compared with 6.5% in the West region. East area.
- No specialty keeps up with inflation. Total compensation for surgical and non-surgical professionals cooled down in 2022, falling to 2.54% in 2022, from 3.89% a year earlier, for surgical professionals and to 2.36% last year, from 3.12% in 2021 for non-surgical doctors. Advanced practice practitioners saw their pay rise slightly decrease, to 3.70%, down from 3.98% in 2021.
- The growth plan has been scaled back. Only 28% of the medical group added ancillary services between October 2021 and October 2022 as they struggled with labor shortages.
- Retirement is on the horizon. About 40% of practicing doctors will reach retirement age in the next decade. That’s part of why health systems are partnering with medical schools as they look to build their staffing systems.
- Signing bonuses are common. Nearly half of all physicians have been rewarded for signing by 2022, compared with about 18% of advanced practitioners.