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First-year primary care compensation stands at $180k, survey finds


A new report shows that median first-year guaranteed compensation for primary care physicians rose about 3% last year to $180,000.

A new report shows that median first-year guaranteed compensation for primary care physicians (PCPs) rose about 3% last year to $180,000.

Facing the looming primary care shortage, medical practices are stepping up their recruiting efforts to attract primary care doctors with perks like signing bonuses, paid relocation expenses and loan forgiveness, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), which published the report, the Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey.

By way of comparison, here are 2012 median first-year compensation figures for a few other specialties: noninvasive cardiology ($332,500); orthopedic surgery ($283,400); pediatric and adolescent medicine ($160,000); dermatology ($227,000); and obstetrics and gynecology ($212,000).

MGMA didn't provide year-over-year compensation comparisons for those specialties.

The survey contains data on 5,225 providers in 629 medical organizations, according to MGMA.

If the primary care shortage is all it's cracked up to be, the simple laws of supply-and-demand tell us that primary care salaries should only continue to increase. For example, a report earlier this year in Health Affairs found that 7 million people live in areas where the need for primary care providers exceeds supply by more than 10%, and another 45 million live in areas where demand is 5% greater than the supply of providers.

Separately, a survey of medical groups released in March by the American Medical Group Association revealed that more than three-fourths of respondents expect to hire PCPs within the next year.


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