Radiologists’ pay soars

October 17, 2006

Total cash compensation paid to radiologists between 2004 and 2006 rose nearly 17%, according to a recent survey by Sullivan, Cotter & Associates in Chicago.

Total cash compensation paid to radiologists between 2004 and 2006 rose nearly 17%, according to a recent survey by Sullivan, Cotter & Associates in Chicago.

Overall physician compensation remained steady during that period. Nine specialties, however, showed a double-digit increase in the median total cash compensation levels paid between 2002 and 2006, according to the compensation research and consulting firm's 2006 Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey report.

The report shows radiology, at 16.88%, among the specialty fields making the largest compensation gains. Pay increases also favored neurosurgery (28.13%), pathology (25.58%), anesthesiology (18.90%), dermatology (18.68%), pediatrics (13.20%), and internal medicine (7.21%).

Caution should be exercised when interpreting the data, as the participant sample changes from year to year, said Kim Mobley, Sullivan, Cotter principal. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

"It is interesting to note that only one surgical specialty, cardiothoracic surgery, showed a decrease over the past two years," she said.

Forty-two percent of the survey participants provide hiring bonuses to physicians. The average actual hiring bonus for a specialist is $17,239, while the average for a primary-care physician is $10,093, according to the report.

Two-thirds of the survey participants have an incentive compensation program for their physicians, with base salaries making up 92.1% of their total cash compensation.

Fifteen percent of the survey participants, however, plan on decreasing the total cash compensation levels for at least some of their physicians in 2006 based on physician productivity levels.

Now in its fourteenth edition, the report included 264 organizations. Data cover 37,213 physicians, residents, Ph.D.'s, midlevel providers, and medical group executives. The report outlines base salary, total cash compensation, and productivity by physician level. It also includes pay practices, compensation incentives, physician benefits and perks, resident compensation, and hourly rates.

Sullivan, Cotter specializes in developing and implementing compensation and reward programs for the healthcare industry. The firm has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, Parsippany, NJ, and Westport, CT.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Radiologists thrive in temporary positions

Demand for radiologists holds steady

Demand for radiologists stabilizes, starting salaries rise

Interventionalist work ethic empties fellowship slots