Average age and income of US cardiologists on the rise

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Age and incomeAccording to a new survey, the average age and income of cardiologists in the US are increasing.

The fifth annual Cardiovascular Provider Compensation & Production Survey from MedAxiom has revealed that one in five cardiologists are over 61 years old. In addition, overall cardiology compensation is increasing, in spite of previous expectations.

Overall compensation for private cardiologists is increasing faster than that of their integrated counterparts. The differential in private/integrated compensation is at its lowest point in five years.

Each year MedAxiom surveys its membership, more than one-third of all cardiology and cardiovascular groups in the country, on financial, staffing, productivity and compensation metrics, and a number of demographic measures. Data for this 2017 report was collected over the 2008–2016 time frame and includes 162 practices and groups, representing 2,337 full-time physicians.

Transition from volume- to value-based care may be slower than expected

In addition to age and income estimates, the data from the report also raises questions about the healthcare industry itself. Despite industry leader predictions that volumes—particularly work relative value units—would decline due to the burgeoning value economy, overall cardiology production remains very constant. In addition, still less than 10% of physician compensation is tied to value.

“These findings come at a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty within the health care industry,” says Joel Sauer, vice president of MedAxiom Consulting and author of the report. “The somewhat surprising survey results are reflective of the need for data and analysis that helps us understand what is really going on, what we need to do to achieve the quadruple aim of health care, and where there are gaps. Obviously, creating economic alignment and strategies for dealing with physician slowdown are imperative.”

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Overall compensation for private cardiologists is increasing faster than that of their integrated counterparts.
  • The median amount of revenue per full-time equivalent (FTE) private physician in 2016 is over US$150,000 higher than it was is 2013.
  • Electrophysiologists grabbed the top earnings spot from interventional physicians coming in at US$607,336 per FTE.
  • The Northeast region of the USA emerged as the top earning geography with median compensation of US$606,681 per FTE.
  • The West region is the lowest paid geography for the 5th straight year.
  • Private cardiologists out-produced those in integrated models by nearly 14%.
  • Overall cardiology production remained very constant.
  • Forty-five per cent of cardiologists are aged over 56 years.
  • Female physicians now account for nearly 10% of the total cardiology workforce.
  • Echo volumes are trending up and stress echo volumes are trending down.

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