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6 Points Comparing Spine Surgeon Compensation

By  Laura Dyrda | Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:53
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Here are six points comparing spine surgeon compensation. The data is from MGMA's Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data and Physicians Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data, unless otherwise noted.

1. Spine surgeon compensation growth. From 2009 to 2010, spine surgeons experienced a 6 percent growth in average annual compensation. In 2010, the average spine surgeon made $760,782, according to MGMA's Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data. Over the same time period, hip and joint surgeons experienced a 12 percent increase in compensation, but received about $100,000 less than spine surgeons, according to the same report. Neurosurgeons received slightly more in 2010 than orthopedic spine surgeons, at $767,627.

2. Hospital employment vs. private practice.
Spine surgeons received more when employed by hospitals than in private practice over the past few years. Not including ancillary income, in 2010 spine surgeons received $714,088 on average under hospital employment, compared to $633,392 in private practice. There was a much smaller gap between employed and private practice neurosurgeons, spanning only about $5,000 with private practice surgeons receiving more. Spine surgeons employed by hospitals received more than neurosurgeons in both employment situations, and spine surgeons in private practice received less.

3. Employment starting salary lower for spine than other orthopedists. According to data gathered from Orthopedic Recruiting Group and reported in its "2011 Orthopedic Recruiting Trends & Starting Salary Overview," spine surgeons receive an average starting salary of $452,000 in hospital contracts. By comparison, hip and joint surgeons receive $597,000 and general orthopedic surgeons receive approximately $500,000. The sign-on bonus for spine surgeons is $40,000 on average, which is more than general orthopedic surgeons but $10,000-$20,000 less than hip and joint specialists and sports medicine physicians.

4. In private practice, multispecialty groups compensate higher. Spine surgeons in multispecialty groups receive $102,577 more than spine surgeons in single specialty group situations. However, both groups of spine surgeons received significantly more in 2010 than in 2009. Spine surgeons in single specialty groups received more than $627,000 in 2010, an approximately $22,000 increase over the year before. Spine surgeons in multispecialty groups received $729,000-plus on average in 2010, which is about $107,000 more than in 2009.

5. Midwest is the highest compensating region for spine surgeons, and growing. In 2010, MGMA reported the average compensation for spine surgeons in the Midwest at $777,988, which is the highest compensating region of the country for spine surgeons. The Midwest was also the highest compensating region for spine surgeons in 2009, where they received $744,857.  The lowest compensating region for spine surgeons in 2010 was the West, which actually reported a 6 percent decrease in compensation from 2009. All other regions reported an increase in compensation from 2009 to 2010.

6. Retirement benefits dropped in 2010. Retirement benefits for spine surgeons dropped slightly from 2009 to 2010. MGMA reported spine surgeon benefits at $36,363 in 2009 and at $35,074 in 2010. By comparison, hip and joint surgeons saw a $5,637 increase and orthopedic trauma surgeons saw a $1,706 increase over the same period. Neurosurgeons also saw growth in retirement benefits over the past few years from $30,893 in 2010 to $34,557 in 2011.

Related Articles on Spine Surgeons:

The State of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: Q&A With SMISS President Dr. William Taylor

10 Spine Surgeon & Specialist Moves

17 Spine Surgeon Leaders in State Orthopedic Societies



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