Higher overhead is stifling the growth of physician salaries, say the authors of a new study of physician compensation. From 1996 to 1997, median compensation for all primary care physicians rose a mere 0.42 percent, even lower than the previous year's growth of 1.42 percent. According to Cejka & Co., a St. Louis health care consulting company that conducted the study for the Medical Group Management Association, physicians are caught between the rising cost of doing business and a squeeze by payers. In the five years ending in 1997, compensation for all primary care physicians rose 9.26 percent.

SOURCE: PHYSICIAN COMPENSATION AND PRODUCTION SURVEY, MEDICAL GROUP MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, ENGLEWOOD, COLO., 1998