Practices Recruiting with Salary, Benefits Increases

To combat the physician workforce shortage practices are offering higher salaries and more competitive benefits to recruit new physicians, according to a new survey.

The physician workforce shortage is translating to higher pay for physicians as practices feel pressure to recruit new physicians, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

The MGMA’s Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data revealed that first-year compensation is on the rise. Primary care physicians reported $180,000 in median first-year guaranteed compensation, which was up from $175,000 in 2011.

To combat the current shortage (expected to reach 90,000 by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges), practices are offering competitive benefits to recruit physicians.

“A number of factors influence the environment for recruiting physicians, and it continues to be highly competitive,” Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group, said in a statement.

Some of the benefits being offered to recruit physicians are first-year, post-residency or post-fellowship signing bonuses, paid relocation expenses, loan forgiveness, paid vacations and continuing medical education.

According to Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search, practices might offer to pay off part of a young physician’s loans every year for a set number of years. Doing so would also improve the practice’s retention rate.

Physicians practicing in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) were the most likely to relocate out of their region, while physicians in the West (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) reported the least amount of placements.

“With an influx of new patients anticipated in 2014, practices are seeking additional providers to serve patients,” Hertz said. “They are increasingly offering signing bonuses, relocation expenses, even additional vacation time, to attract new physicians and prepare to best serve their communities in the future.”

MGMA’s survey included responses from 5,225 providers in 629 medical organizations.