Cardiology, radiology specialists still command top pay

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Cardiology and radiology physicians continued to earn some of the highest levels of compensation in 2012 compared with other specialties despite some categories experiencing a year-to-year decline.

A total of 280 medical groups representing almost 68,000 providers responded to an annual survey sent in 2013 by to the American Medical Group Association. The association, in collaboration with Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, uses survey results to report on compensation, work relative value units (RVUs) and other financial data to help management determine salaries, benefits and other costs.

Interventional cardiologists topped the list for compensation, with a median of $547,112, which is a 4.27 percent increase from the previous year. Cardiac and thoracic surgeons also ranked among the highest paid, with a median compensation of $525,944, a decrease of 3.33 percent from 2011’s median of $544,087.

Interventional diagnostic radiologists cracked the half-million dollar mark, as well, with a median of $504,772, up 4.02 percent from 2011’s $485,277 mark.

Cardiologists, on the other hand, experienced a drop of 2.17 percent, from $430,316 in 2011 to $420,991 in 2012. Compensation for non-interventional diagnostic radiologists also declined; they earned a median $453,216 in 2012, down 1.3 percent from $459,186 in 2011.

Endocrinologists and infectious disease specialists recorded the biggest gains between 2011 and 2012, at 5.81 percent and 5.64 percent, respectively. Overall, 61 percent of specialties saw compensation rise in 2012, for an average weighted increase of 1.6 percent.

Both cardiologists and interventional cardiologists experienced an increase in RVUs, at 3.11 percent and 2.32 percent, respectively. Non-interventional diagnostic radiologists and interventional diagnostic radiologists also had upticks of 6.32 percent and 1.02 percent, respectively.

Median RVUs declined by 2.86 percent for cardiac and thoracic surgeons. Overall, the weighted average RVU change increased 1.5 percent.

The 2013 report is based on 2012 data. Compensation figures for 2011 are available here.