Median radiologist income tops $476,000 despite recession

July 6, 2009

Radiologists’ compensation grew 2.55% in 2008, which is slightly more than the 2.19% gain for all medical specialties, according to the annual Medical Group Management Association compensation and production survey.

Radiologists' compensation grew 2.55% in 2008, which is slightly more than the 2.19% gain for all medical specialties, according to the annual Medical Group Management Association compensation and production survey.

The median compensation for radiologists was $476,275 in 2008. The median for all specialists was $399,738.

According to MGMA, 1641 radiologists participated in the survey. It was conducted mainly over the Internet from late January to March 2009. Radiologist respondents typically practiced medicine for 13 years. There was slightly more representation from the Midwest (28.8%) than the other regions of the country. The data apply only to radiologists in the U.S.

Though radiologists still fall into the upper echelons of compensation, invasive cardiologists remain the top wage-earners. Their median income was $482,858 in 2008 and rose 5.72% from the previous year, according to the survey.

Although there were gains in compensation, in most instances they lagged behind the U.S. Consumer Price Index, which increased 3.8% in 2008.

"With physician payment rates lagging behind inflation, physician practices need as many tools as possible to maintain their incomes," said MGMA president and CEO Dr. William F. Jessee.

Compared with other specialists, radiologists are relatively less susceptible to the effects of the 2009 recession, according to MGMA survey analyst Meghan McMahon.

"I think radiologists face the same challenges that everyone in healthcare does right now because of everything that's going on with the economy. But it's not an extreme challenge because radiologists are not typically subjected to some of the declines in elective procedures," she said.

The findings were reported in MGMA's 25th annual Physician Compensation and Production Survey Report. It covers 50,000 physician and non-physician providers in more than 100 medical specialties.