Compensation rates rise for ophthalmologists

September 15, 2004

Alexandria, VA-Ophthalmologists saw their median compensation rise 6.19% from 2002 to 2003 while their work load dropped 3.06% over the same period.

Alexandria, VA-Ophthalmologists saw their median compensation rise 6.19% from 2002 to 2003 while their work load dropped 3.06% over the same period.

However, their compensation level did not rise as high as it did for other specialists, including dermatologists, whose compensation rose 16.71%, gastroenterologists (12.34%), and pathologists (13.51%).

The figures were reported as part of the American Medical Group Association's 2004 Medical Group Compensation & Financial Survey, in which most specialties saw modest increases in compensation during 2003.

Overall, groups in the Northern Region were operating on average at a loss of $3,477 per physician, according to the survey. Meanwhile, groups in the Southern Region were earning $570 more per physician, while those in the Eastern and Western regions were earning $2,080 and $1,530 more per physician, respectively.

The median compensation for ophthalmologists in 2003 was $249,237, compared with $234,704 in 2002. In 2001, that figure was slightly higher at $240,265; in 2000, ophthalmologists earned a median salary of $239,379.

The reported median gross charges for ophthalmologists also was up, possibly asa result of increases in fee schedules. Thereport indicates charges were up 5.1% from 2002 to 2003. Those charges increased 19.17% from 2000 to 2003.

At the same time, ophthalmologists’ relative value units (RVU), a standard method of determining productivity, were down slightly from 2002 to 2003. The number of RVUs dropped from 7,427 in 2002 to 7,200 in 2003. However, in other years, productivity remained rather stable: RVUs dropped 0.59% from 2000 to 2003.

Work RVUs were reported to be the number one factor for determining production-based compensation, where at least 50% of the group’s compensation is distributed based on work or financial contribution.