The survey asked hospital chief financial officers to quantify how much revenue physicians in 18 specialties generated for their hospitals in the previous 12 months. This included both net inpatient and outpatient revenue derived from patient referrals, tests, prescriptions and procedures performed or ordered in the hospital.
Orthopedic surgeons topped the list of physicians examined in the survey. A full-time orthopedic surgeon generates an average of $2,746,605 a year on behalf of an affiliated hospital, an invasive cardiologist $2,448,136, a neurosurgeon $2,445,810 and a general surgeon $2,169,693.
It is not just surgical specialists who generate high dollar volumes for hospitals, the survey indicates. Family physicians generate an average of $1,493,518 in net revenue annually for their affiliated hospitals, while general internists generate $1,830,200.
The average revenue for all medical specialties included in the survey ($1,560,688) is up from $1,448,458 in 2013, the last year Merritt Hawkins conducted the survey. Revenue generated by 11 of the 18 medical specialties increased compared to 2013.
“The value of physician care is not only related to excellence in patient outcomes and patient experience,” said Merritt Hawkins Vice President of Strategic Alliances Kurt Mosley. “Physicians also drive the financial success of hospitals, even in a healthcare system that is evolving away from volume-based payments and toward value-based payments.”
The survey also provides a cost/benefits analysis showing which physicians provide the best return on investment by comparing salaries in medical specialties to revenue generated on behalf of hospitals. Family physicians, for example, averaged a starting salary of $198,000 in 2015, while generating 7.5 times that much in hospital revenue. Orthopedic surgeons averaged $497,000 in salary while generating 5.5 times that much in hospital revenue.
“Primary care physicians such as family physicians and general internists represent an excellent return on investment, which is one reason they have been our number one and number two searches respectively for the last nine years” Mosley said.
Learn more about the survey results here.