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New Survey Shows Physicians Are Key Revenue Generators for Hospitals

February 25, 2019

New Survey Shows Physicians Are Key Revenue Generators for Hospitals

By Phillip Miller


Physicians in the United States today handle over one billion patient encounters a year in office, hospital, and other settings, providing services that are essential to the quality of care Americans receive.


In addition to their key role as care givers, physicians also remain the economic engines of healthcare. This fact is brought home by Merritt Hawkins’ 2019 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey. This periodic survey, last conducted by Merritt Hawkins in 2016, tracks the annual net revenue full-time equivalent (FTE) physicians generate per year for their affiliated hospitals.


The average for all types of physicians tracked in the survey is $2,378,727 per year. This includes both net inpatient and outpatient revenue derived from hospital admissions, tests, treatments, prescriptions, and procedures performed or ordered by physicians.


Cardiovascular surgeons topped the list of physicians examined in the survey. Full-time cardiovascular surgeons generate an average of $3,697,916 a year on behalf of their affiliated hospitals, according to the survey, followed by invasive cardiologists at $3,484,375, neurosurgeons at $3,437,500 and orthopedic surgeons at $3,286,764. 


It is not just physician specialists who generate high dollar volumes for hospitals, the survey indicates. Family physicians generate an average of $2,111,931 in net revenue annually for their affiliated hospitals, while general internists generate an average of $2,673,387. 


The average net revenue generated by all physicians included in the survey ($2,378,727) is up from $1,560,688 in 2016, an increase of 52%.  


The survey also provides a cost/benefits analysis showing which physicians provide the best return on investment by comparing salaries in various medical specialties to revenue generated by physicians in those specialties. Family physicians, for example, average a starting salary of $241,000, according to Merritt Hawkins’ data, while generating nine times that much in hospital revenue. Orthopedic surgeons average $533,000 in starting salary while generating six times that much in hospital revenue.


The economic impact physicians make extends beyond revenues they generate for their affiliated hospitals. According to the January, 2018 American Medical Association report The National Economic Impact of Physicians, the combined economic output of office-based physicians in the U.S. is $2.3 trillion. Each office-based physician supports a per-capita economic output of $3.1 million and supports an average of 17 jobs while paying $1.4 million in wages and benefits.


If you would like a copy of the Merritt Hawkins 2019 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey you may download it here.


Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of healthcare staffing solutions.


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