Physician income trends vary by specialty

In tracking the salaries of primary care physicians and specialists over a decade, the Medical Group Management Association has documented similarities and differences in trends based on specialty. In 1990, median incomes for gastroenterologists and general surgeons, for instance, were $188,133 and $172,952, respectively. By 1999, the median incomes for those specialties had increased $76,367 and $63, 620.

Compare that to family physicians and general internists: $101,876 and $110,606 in 1990, with respective increases of $39,617 and $34,791 by 1999. The percentage increases are similar.

Still, consistency was not the norm. As the changes for median compensation from year to year indicate, specialists’ salaries rode a roller coaster during the so-called managed care decade. Overall, they seem to have made up for lost ground in recent years.

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