Increased Perks for Recruited Physicians

Recruiting and retaining physicians continues to be highly competitive, which has led to some strong perks for newly hired providers.

Recruiting and retaining physicians continues to be highly competitive, which has led to some strong perks for providers, according to a new report.

The Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) 2014 report, Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey, found that the physicians are receiving enhanced benefit offerings, which the MGMA attributes to the implementation of the health insurance exchanges and the looming physician shortage.

According to the report, primary care physicians reported that in a new practice their median first-year guaranteed compensation was $186,475. Specialists reported $260,000. The findings in the report are based on 2013 data and includes data from more than 5,300 providers in 567 medical organizations.

“Medical practices are offering a number of benefits to recruit physicians,” Laura Palmer, FACMPE, MGMA senior industry analyst, said in a statement. “With the initial uncertainty surrounding how ACA insurance exchanges would impact healthcare organizations, medical practices were very savvy in planning ahead and anticipating how potential changes to their population may affect their ability to accommodate patients.”

In an effort to recruit physicians, guaranteed compensation isn’t enough in the current environment. Practices have been enhancing their benefit offerings in addition to current competitive compensation packages.

Nearly three-quarter (72%) of physicians accepted paid relocation packages as part of their employment offers and 60% in a new practice reported signing bonuses. The MGMA speculated that these increased offerings are likely a result of the fact that in September 2013 practices predicted an increase in their patient population because of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. Furthermore, physician shortages mean that organizations need to get creative and competitive when attracting physicians.

However, recruitment simply isn’t enough. The improving US economy has led to an increase in physician turnover as healthcare professionals are more confident in their ability to find a new job, according to a 2013 survey from Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association.

According to research, the first 2 or 3 years are crucial for retention, and it’s important to get newly hired physicians over that hump. In order to do so, organizations will need to identify the needs and motivations of newly hired physicians. For young doctors, that might mean offering a student loan repayment program while for older physicians it could be a leadership position, according to Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search.