For the first time since 2002, primary care physicians generated more annual revenue on average for their hospitals than did specialists in the last 12 months, according to a survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins. The survey asked hospital chief financial officers to quantify how much revenue physicians in 18 specialties generated for their hospitals, including net inpatient and outpatient revenue derived from patient referrals, tests, prescriptions and procedures performed or ordered in the hospital.

Primary care physicians (family and general internal medicine physicians and pediatricians) generated a combined average of $1.57 million, which is a 13 percent increase since 2010. Separately, family practice physicians generated $2.07 million; internal medicine physicians, $1.84 million; and pediatricians, $788,000.

Among specialists, orthopedic surgeons generated the most annual average revenue at $2.68 million per year. Invasive cardiologists followed at $2.17 million, then general surgeons at $1.86 million and neurosurgeons at $1.68 million. The remaining 15 specialties included in the survey generated a combined average of $1.42 million. The average net revenue generated by all 18 specialties was $1.45 million, which is a 9 percent decrease from 2010 and the lowest average since this periodic survey first was conducted in 2002.

In the same report, Merritt Hawkins provided its most recent physician salary data. The specialties with the five highest average physician salaries are: neurosurgery ($669,000); orthopedic surgery ($519,000); invasive cardiology, ($512,000); urology ($461,000); and gastroenterology ($433,000). The specialties with the five lowest average salaries are: family practice and pediatrics (both $189,000); internal medicine ($203,000); psychiatry ($224,000); and ob-gyn ($268,000).

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