Cardiologists’ compensation increasing at slower rate than peers

Physician compensation has increased across the board over the last five years but cardiologists’ pay has grown less than other specialties, according to SullivanCotter’s 2017 Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey.

Median total cash compensation for cardiologists increased by 17 percent from 2012 to 2017, compared to 22 percent for family medicine physicians, 21.3 percent for psychiatrists, 19.1 percent for internal medicine physicians and 18.4 percent for pediatricians. The results are based on responses of nearly 135,000 individual physicians and advanced primary care physicians.

For cardiology, work relative value units (RVUs) and collections grew by 14 and 14.8 percent, respectively — the largest five-year increases in any of the aforementioned specialties. Combining all specialties, quality incentive payments increased in each of the last four years, growing from 4.3 percent of total compensation in 2014 to 7.4 percent in 2017. This signals a trend toward more value-based payment.

In addition, the survey showed cash compensation for department chairs can range from 1.5 to 2 times that of a staff physician in the same department.

Check out an infographic with some of the survey’s key findings here.