Reimbursement Issues Cited as Central Challenge in Physician Salary Survey


Report shows that salaries were either flat or declining for most of the surveyed physicians.

For 2018, salaries were either flat or declined for most physicians. The pressure to maintain current compensation levels is becoming more difficult due to time pressure to see more patients and lower reimbursement rates, according to a report from Medical Economics®.

The results of the 90th annual Physician Report, which included 1,300 physicians nationwide, show that for just over half of physicians (52%), compensation was about the same as last year. Income dropped for more than one-fourth (26%) of physicians responding to the survey. About 22% of respondents reported a boost in compensation.

More than 70% of physicians pointed to uncompensated tasks, such as prior authorizations, as primary reasons for lost productivity and revenue. Other reasons include:

  • Higher overhead.
  • Lower reimbursement.
  • Greater technology costs.
  • Government regulations.
  • Difficulty collecting from.
  • Penalties from quality metrics.

Some of the top reasons for improved finances:

  • Seeing more patients.
  • Change in practice model.
  • Receiving pay-for-performance.
  • Renegotiated payer contracts.
  • Addition of ancillary services.

Salary results are presented for physicians in private practice, hospital-owned practice, in-patient hospitals, nonprofits and government. Specialties and subspecialties in this report include internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology, dermatology and urology.

Data was collected during November 2018. The margin of error is 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For the survey results, go to

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