Thursday, April 28, 2011

Physician Compensation Report: 2011 Results

Despite the economy, a majority of physicians across all specialties reported compensation increasing or remaining stable over the past year. More than 15,000 physicians nationwide took part in Medscape's 2011 Compensation Survey. Twenty-two specialists (including primary care) participated in the survey.

Orthopedic surgeons and radiologists (median compensation: $350,000), anesthesiologists and cardiologists ($325,000) were the top earners, as primary care ($159,000) and pediatricians ($148,000) brought up the rear. If they had to do it all over again, primary care doctors were least likely to choose the same specialty (43%), followed by pulmonologists (52%) and ob/gyn's (53%). While pediatricians were lowest on the income rung, 61% would choose the same specialty again.

Some physicians have seen the financial wisdom of investing in their own surgery/clinical procedure centers. Among specialists who've already taken this step, gastroenterologists lead the way (40%), followed in descending order by urologists, plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and ophthalmologists. For at least a portion of such doctors, though, this train may have already left the station, especially anyone considering investing in an ambulatory surgical center. Doctors thinking about setting up their own ambulatory surgical center face the prospect of lower reimbursements and rising costs for construction and related expenditures.

Sometimes the best way to boost practice income during tough times is simply to cut expenses. Of the roughly 15% of respondents who followed this game plan in 2010, most said they'd cut expenses by up to 10%. Among this group of cost-cutters, the best represented specialties are plastic surgery (29%), urology (23%), gastroenterology (20%), and cardiology (19%). Psychiatrists ($175,000) are not the top income earners but low operating costs may put them on an equal financial footing with many of their higher-earning specialist colleagues.

Read the full report on Medscape, or click here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Increase in Physician Turnover

As the economy perks up, it appears that physician turnover rates rise with it. For the first time since 2008, physician turnover has increased, reminding medical groups of the delicate balance between physician supply and demand.

Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association completed their 6th annual survey tracking physician retention. In 2010 total turnover was 6.1%, compared to 5.9% in 2009, and appears to track with reports of modest improvement in the U.S. economy.

Other findings from the survey:

Part Time Practice Continues to Grow - Since 2005, the part-time workforce has grown by 62%. This trend tracks with the change in profile of today's medical workforce, in which the two fastest growing segments are female physicians entering the practice and male physicians approaching retirement.

Mentoring Makes a Difference in Reducing Turnover - The majority of medical groups (73.8%) believe mentoring reduces turnover, but just more than half (56.1%) assign a mentor to newly hired physicians. For those who do assign a mentor, a formalized program makes a difference. The turnover rate was 1% lower (5.3%) for groups that have written goals and guidelines compared with those who do not assign a mentor (6.3%).

Medical Groups Are Hiring Physicians - The consensus from the medical groups responding to the survey indicates that the hiring of physicians and advanced practice providers will accelerate through 2011. The majority of medical groups (83%) will hire more or significantly more primary care physicians, indicating that an already competitive physician market may become more so. Nearly as many said they will be hiring more or significantly more specialists (79%) and advanced practitioners (78%).

Read the full article in Healthcare Finance News, or click here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Significant Increase of Physician Hiring in Physician Offices

In the first quarter of 2011 positions hired in physician practice offices increased by 3 times compared to the first quarter of 2010. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported increases in both physician offices and hospitals. Physician offices added 16,500 jobs in the first quarter of 2011 and hospitals added 19,600 jobs. Both are significant increases to the number of jobs added from the first quarter of 2010. Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

20 Statistics on Physician Compensation and Incentive Offers

Merritt Hawkins' has comprised 20 statistics on percentages most commonly offered to physicians in employment offers in their 2010 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives. These apply to hospital employed physician contracts.

The 2010 Review is based on the 2,813 permanent physician search and advance allied professional search assignments between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010. Here are some of the statistics:

Type of Incentive Offered

  • Salary: 12%

  • Salary with bonus: 74%

  • Income guarantee: 13%

Type of Income Guarantee Offered

  • Net collections guarantee: 88%

  • Gross collections guarantee: 12%

Term of Income Guarantee Offered

  • One year: 55%

  • Two years: 36%

  • Three years: 9%

Signing Bonus: popularity and amount

  • Signing bonus offered: 76%

  • Signing bonus not offered: 24%

  • Average amount of signing bonus: $22,915

CME: Popularity and Amount

  • CME offered: 93%

  • CME not offered: 7%

  • Average amount of CME pay: $3,335

Other Benefits Offered

  • Health insurance: 98%

  • Malpractice: 99%

  • Retirement: 90%

Read the full article at Becker's Hospital Review, or click here:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Increase in Hospital Employment Positions

The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine have both recently published articles on the increasing trend of physicians seeking employed opportunities. The articles both reference physicians being motivated by a higher quality of life offered by employed positions, presumably as compared to private practice.

The New England Journal of Medicine documents the increase in hospital employed positions, rising from just over 20% in 2002 to over 50% in 2008, the last year for which the study had data.

The New York Times article highlights the dramatic changes in physician employment as being driven by doctors' evolving professional and personal goals. The Times article chronicles the lives of three generations of Pennsylvania doctors: starting with the grandfather, a family physician in the 1940s who worked 80+ hours per week, and ending with a granddaughter, a hospital-based ER doctor named Kate Dewar, who works 36 hours per week so she can be home with her new twins.

In the 1990s, hospitals pushed to hire doctors to fill out their referral networks, as managed care took over. Now, the trend is "more physician-driven" as doctors choose to forego the "hassles of private practice" such as insurance and government billing requirements and the administration of a large office.

However we feel there will also be a place for private practices, both to offer options to patients and maintain quality of care. Physician offices also provide good jobs in local economies, and physicians can still enjoy a good quality of life with shared call, business and billing consultants, and can control how they would like to run their practice.

Read the article in the New York Times by clicking here:

Read the article in the New England Journal of Medicine by clicking here:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hospitals' New Physician Leaders: Doctors Wear Multiple Medical Hats

A new trend in hospitals is employing physicians in both administrative and clinical roles. A new generation of physicians are combining clinical care and executive leadership concurrently. There are more of these positions as hospitals and large health systems prepare for the implementation of health reform and recognize the need for greater alignment with physicians. Physician leaders are viewed as more important than ever to closing the divide between clinicians and the administration as they try to create accountable care organizations, reduce readmissions, improve care, and implement electronic medical records. Physicians playing an executive role feel they have more control of patient care and hospital regulations. They are working to improve quality in their every day clinical atmospheres; they feel they can trust initiatives more and have representation on the board. Also the trend has created new titles available to accommodate new administrative needs. The chief medical officer remains a common leadership position, but hospitals are creating positions such as chiefs of physician relations, integration, and medical informatics. These new positions incorporate some duties that until now physicians traditionally would have carried out as volunteers as part of the medical staff or various committees. Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Office-based Doctors Support 4 Million Jobs

As other industries are slowing down and unemployment is continuing at record highs, office based physicians are bringing jobs to their communities. Medical Group Management Association researchers have devised national and state-specific multipliers to determine the value of a physician's contribution to local economies, including jobs created, spending at nearby businesses, and taxes generated. According to these figures office based physician practices contributed to over 4 million jobs in 2009. With unemployment still rising, the number of jobs at physician offices has continued to increase. These jobs pay well and offer strong benefit plans; also they offer a stable environment and more job security than many other industries. These figures confirm that physician offices are a large contributor to the economy; having physician offices in a community is economically healthy for the local area. Numbers vary by physician practice and specialty, however on an individual level, physicians support an average of 6.2 jobs each, including their own. One physician leads to about $100,000 in state and local tax revenue and $2.2 million in overall financial activity. Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Friday, April 1, 2011

10 Current Healthcare Employment and Compensation Trends

Becker's Hospital Review has reported 10 trends physicians and hospitals noted last year in employment and compensation. The trends provide good insight in to what to expect this year and also in to the future regarding hospital employment and compensation.

Here are the trends reported:

1. Nursing enrollment is rising

2. Female physicians earn less

3. More medical students choose primary care

4. Physician compensation in academic settings increased in 2010

5. Staffing levels affect mortality rates

6. On-call pay has increased in half of hospitals

7. Critical care employees report lowest job satisfaction

8. Employed physician salaries are expected to increase

9. Nurse provider shortage decreases

10. Feb. 2011 saw higher employment than Jan. 2011 and Feb. 2010

Read the full article on Becker's Hospital Review, or click here: