MGMA physician salary survey shows bounce in recruitment efforts, pay disparity

May 20, 2014

Primary care physicians at hospital-owned practices earn more than their counterparts at physician-owned practices, but neither earn nearly as much as healthcare executives, two recent surveys reveal.

 

Primary care physicians (PCPs) at hospital-owned practices earn more than their counterparts at physician-owned practices, but neither earn nearly as much as healthcare executives, two recent surveys reveal.

The recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) report, “MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data,” surveyed 567 groups and 5,318 providers. It found that PCPs at hospital-owned practices earned a median, first-year guaranteed compensation of $192,554, while those at a physician-owned practice earned $185,000.

Among all job placements, 72% of employers paid the provider’s relocation expenses, 18.2% offered loan forgiveness, and 60.3% gave a signing bonus.

The MGMA credits the additional physician recruitment benefits to the predicted increase in patient volume from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges.

“Medical practices are offering a number of benefits to recruit physicians,” said Laura Palmer, FACMPE, MGMA senior industry analyst, in a written 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.”

The survey also showed that PCPs still make significantly less when compared to specialists. Specialists at a hospital-owned practice reported a median, first-year guaranteed compensation of $300,000, and specialists at a private practice earned $275,000.

Meanwhile, an analysis commissioned by the New York Times found that the compensation for top healthcare insurance executives far surpasses those of physicians. The survey found that the average base pay for an insurance chief executive officer (CEO) is $584,000, while hospital CEOs make an average of $386,000.   

The New York Times report also cited studies that say administrative costs account for 20% to 30% of U.S. healthcare costs.