June 7, 2007—The 2006 Academic Practice Compensation and Production Survey for Faculty and Management, conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, Englewood, Colo, found that specialty physicians in academic practice posted a 3.59% increase in total median compensation—not much compared to their peers in the private sector (who gained 6.61%), but an improvement over years when pay remained stagnant.

"These modest pay increases could be due to academic practices’ necessary attempt to compete with the private sector," said MarieAnn North, MBA, FACMPE, director of Navigant Consulting, Tampa, Fla, and an MGMA Survey Advisory Committee member. "With median medical student debt more than $100,000, academic medical practices must pay at higher levels than in previous years to secure new physicians. Academic practices also compete with each other to attract the best new physicians coming in to practice."

Some academic specialties, including neurology practices, reported flat compensation in 2006 on top of a slight decrease in 2005. Physicians in ophthalmology and obstetrics and gynecology reported a less than 2% increase.

—Cat Vasko