Exclusive survey: How do you measure up?

October 1, 2010

An exclusive survey administered to more than 4,000 office-based MDs and Dos in more than 17 specialties found that median earnings for pediatricians dropped by about 13% last year from $187,500 in 2008 to $163,000 in 2009.

An exclusive survey administered to more than 4,000 office-based MDs and DOs in more than 17 specialties found that median earnings for pediatricians dropped by about 13% last year, from $187,500 in 2008 to $163,000 in 2009. The 3-part survey also asked physicians questions about productivity and malpractice.

In contrast, earnings for family physicians, general practitioners, and internists stayed roughly the same from 2008 to 2009, ticking up from $162,500 to $163,000. Ob/gyns, although still the highest earners among primary care physicians, saw median earnings decline from $237,500 to $213,000.

When asked to compare practice finances in 2009 to those in 2008, only 13% of pediatricians reported improvement, whereas 41% said that things had gotten worse. Another 41% noted no change.

As a result, Krakora-Looby and her partners took pay cuts and stopped contributing to staff retirement accounts. "And it's not going to happen this year because we don't have the extra income," she says.

In the second half of 2009, patients lost jobs and private insurance and switched to Medicaid, says Janet McLaughlin, president of PMC Consultants to Health Professionals, a San Francisco firm that specializes in pediatric practices. Things have not yet returned to normal, she adds. "I would not say that pediatricians have seen a recovery. I'd say there's a holding pattern in 2010."