Cardiology compensation continues to rise; new interventional measures reported
MedAxiom, an American College of Cardiology Company and the premier source for cardiovascular organizational performance solutions, has released its eighth annual Cardiovascular Provider Compensation and Production Survey. The report reveals trends across cardiology, surgery, advanced practice providers (APPs) and non-clinical compensation that help cardiovascular organizations as they face a new normal and are reevaluating compensation models and the definition of work productivity.
Key findings include:
- All regions of the country reported increases in median total cardiology compensation with the South remaining in the lead.
- Electrophysiologists ($678,495) and interventional physicians ($674,910) are the top earners. Although the gap has narrowed over the years, cardiologists in integrated ownership models out-earn private physicians at every subspecialty level.
- Data showed groups in the top quartile for their deployment of APPs per cardiologist were able to maintain significantly larger (22%) patient panel sizes.
- Advanced heart failure physicians reported the lowest Work Relative Value Unit (wRVU) production per FTE, yet their compensation per wRVU is high compared to other specialties.
- There was a decline in discharge volumes per cardiologist potentially due to procedures like elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) moving to the ambulatory setting.
"There are several national physician surveys that provide good data for cardiovascular provider compensation and wRVU production," noted report author Joel Sauer, MBA, MedAxiom's executive vice president of consulting. "At MedAxiom, we work hard to go beyond just providing the numbers to tell you what the data mean, digging deep into cardiovascular production irrespective of the location—be it hospital, office, ambulatory surgery center and even at home. Looking ahead we see virtual care, hardly utilized in cardiovascular medicine prior to the pandemic, will play a prominent role in our survey beginning in 2021. This is an example of the continual evolution of MedAxiom's survey and rich member data."
The comprehensive report provides data and expert analysis on compensation and production trends by subspecialty, geographic region, ownership model and more. It looks at the diverse set of data points and factors including compensation per wRVU, key cardiology volumes and ratios, diagnostic testing trends, and the roles of APPs, part-time physicians and non-clinical roles. Making their debut in 2020, MedAxiom has added new interventional measures: PCI acute myocardial infarction only and PCI chronic total occlusion only.
"Before virtual care delivery entered the spotlight, access was trending as one of the top issues for cardiovascular care," said Jerry Blackwell, MD, MBA, FACC, MedAxiom's president and CEO. "We face an impending shortage of physicians to care for the cardiovascular patient population and, in many programs, the inability to get patients into the practice due to location and/or capacity constraints. Practice managers and health systems alike are reexamining their approach to team-based care and expansion of care delivery into the ambulatory setting. In this climate, reliable and comprehensive data that go deep into the cardiovascular program are critical. The importance has been amplified as a result of the public health emergency."
At the beginning of each year MedAxiom surveys its membership which represents more than one-third of all cardiology and cardiovascular groups in the country. The data collected contain financial, staffing, productivity and compensation metrics, and a number of demographic measures. Data for the 2020 report were collected over the 2008-2019 timeframe and include 168 groups, representing 2,363 full-time physicians, 1,458 APPs and 119 part-time physicians (3,940 total physicians and APPs).