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Want more pay? Work for a private practice

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Article

Survey shows that on average, physicians in private practice made more money than those working for hospitals

Private practice pays better: ©Pixelrobot - stock.adobe.com

Private practice pays better: ©Pixelrobot - stock.adobe.com

Software Advice’s 2023 Physician Compensation Survey examined the prevailing trends in physician salaries, and private practices are the place to be if you want a better salary.

Private practices continue to offer the highest salaries, with physicians witnessing an 8.4% median salary increase from $253,731 in 2022 to $275,072 in 2023. In contrast, hospitals present a mixed picture, showing an average increase of 3.3% but a decrease in median salaries from $252,011 in 2022 to $244,373 in 2023.

While overall, the average physician salary increased by 5.8% from 2022 to 2023, after adjusting for inflation, the buying power for the average doctor's salary rose by approximately 2.5%, surpassing the national average salary increase for all U.S. workers at 4.6%.

However, the recently passed 2024 Physician Fee Schedule introduces a 3.4% conversion factor reduction in Medicare payments, impacting the value of services billed for Medicare coverage. This cut, from $33.89 to $32.74 in the calendar year 2024, raises concerns among doctors, particularly as 36% of their existing patients use Medicare, and 66% of practices accept Medicare.

The survey also examined trends in physician negotiations and supplementary income sources. While 43% of doctors have successfully negotiated higher salaries, 41% have never attempted to negotiate. Additionally, 44% of physicians supplement their income with side work unrelated to their primary practice, with men being more likely to engage in side jobs than women.

Gender pay disparities persist, with the median salary for male doctors in 2023 at $284,853 compared to $226,034 for female doctors. Despite a median salary increase of 8% for men, women experienced only a 2.9% increase.

According to the survey, 43% of doctors report that Blue Cross Blue Shield typically pays the most for services, followed by United Healthcare at 21%, and Aetna at 19%.

The survey was conducted in November 2023 among 300 physicians who had been in their current practice at least two years.

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