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How Much Revenue Do Primary Care Physicians Generate?

Any FQHC leadership team will tell you there is no mission without margin. Healthcare organizations of all types must pay close attention to the revenue-generating engines of their facilities. This includes physicians, who in addition to providing clinically effective care for patients, must also serve as the financial revenue generator for the facility.

But how much revenue can physicians generate, particularly for FQHCs?

Physician Revenue by Category

“FQHCs must evolve from their roots as “mission-first, margin-maybe” to organizations with a foundation of “no margin, no mission in order to be successful.”
Sage Growth Partners

FQHCs typically employ doctors from the primary care specialties: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and General obstetrics/gynecology.

While the primary care doctors do not generate as much revenue as their surgical counterparts, Becker’s Hospital CFO Report tracks the revenue these providers generate for FQHCs, along with more invasive surgical specialists. The data comes from a 2016 Merritt-Hawkins report on physician salary surveys.

  • Nationally, the average primary care doctor generates approximately $1.4 million in revenue for their organization annually. A specialist, on average, generates around $1.6 million each year.
  • The highest producing physicians today are orthopedic surgeons. One full-time orthopedist can generate $2.7 million annually for their affiliated service provider.
  • Coming in second is cardiology, whose clinicians generate the second-highest amount each year, at $2.4 million.
  • Neurosurgeons followed cardiologists and general surgeons, generating $2.2 million on average for their facilities.
  • However, primary care providers offer healthcare organizations great ROI. They fulfill a particularly important place in the healthcare safety net, serving as an important referral source to specialty providers. The primary care clinician is the entry point for most patients into the healthcare service delivery mechanism. Becker’s says these clinical providers may have a salary of around $198,000 annually; however, they generate 7.5 times the revenue, which is the highest of all clinical providers, including orthopedists.

Primary care providers generate extensive ROI via patient referrals, hospital admissions, tests and inpatient treatments. Healthcare providers note this as “downstream revenue,” which is particularly important to healthcare providers and their long-term fiscal solvency. This makes primary care providers both highly coveted and highly recruited by healthcare organizations. Dollar for dollar, the primary care provider is both a cost-effective clinician by salary output as well as a revenue generator for the healthcare system as a whole.

General Financial Impact of Doctors

The American Medical Association also quantified the general impact of all physicians on the communities they serve. They found that:

  • Each year physicians generate $1.6 trillion for their healthcare system and the American economy.
  • Each physician, no matter the specialty, supports on average 13.84 jobs.
  • Doctors also support billions in annual wages, on average $1,076,462 per physician each year.
  • The state and local tax income generated by physicians annually is $65.2 billion.

Above all, this data goes to show that physicians of all specialties are a value to the healthcare society and play an important role in the economy. UHC Solutions has hired many physicians over the years. Connect with our health center recruiting experts today about finding the right revenue generators for your team.


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