Compensation Trends for Hospital-Employed Docs

As more physicians become hospital and health system employees it becomes increasingly important to create a standard for physician pay. Here are seven trends in hospital-employed physician compensation that have emerged recently.

As more physicians become hospital and health system employees it becomes increasingly important to create a standard for physician pay.

The strong trend away from private practice to hospital employment is bringing a sea change to the health care industry. Not only are physicians noticing a change in costs and care, but physicians are faced with new challenges, such as unionizing.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, roughly 25% of all specialty physicians are hospital employees, up a huge amount from just 5% in 2000. Meanwhile, 40% of all primary care physicians (PCPs) are hospital employed.

Here are Becker’s seven trends in hospital-employed physician compensation.

7. Quid pro quo

Unconventional contracts are taking place in the industry.

Hospitals can get away with offering benefit plans that aren’t as extensive as they would be in other industries, but in exchange, the physician isn’t on call 24/7 the way he or she would be in private practice. Or the hospital could offer to help pay off student loans in exchange for an agreement that the physician will stay at the hospital for a set number of years.

6. Highest paid have highest expectations

Physicians really have to earn those big bucks at the hospital. It’s expected that a physician — especially one with additional administrative roles — making more than $700,000 a year will help out in other areas, such as managing the department’s operations.

5. PCPs will see more salary increases

Since primary care is emphasized so much as part of health reform, PCPs will get their due and receive higher pay. However, specialists will continue to be in high demand and receive high salaries, according to Becker’s.

4. Value over productivity

The health care industry is feeling increased financial pressures and adapting. Fee-for-service is being replaced by a value-based environment. Physicians are being incentivized to work on high-level cases while advanced practice clinicians work on simpler cases.

3. Benefits mirror general hospital employee base

Physicians who join a hospital are not being given the same benefits as the C-suit executives. Instead, they are receiving the plans that are the same as nurses and other hospital employees.

2. High-paid specialties to watch

These five specialties are the highest-paid employed physician specialties:

Neurosurgery: $663,760

Ophthalmology: $628,260

Noninvasive cardiology: $575,000

General orthopedic surgery: $538,970

Neonatal medicine pediatrics: $505,000

1. Earning power is greater in a hospital-based setting

Physicians in private practice have to consider the costs of malpractice, health insurance, overhead and other operating expenses, while hospital-employed physicians simply get paid and have more stability in that pay.

Read more:

7 Trends in Hospital-Employed Physician CompensationBecker’s Hospital Review