Is your practice keeping up with midlevel provider pay increases?

September 7, 2011

Compensation for ?physician extenders? continues to rise as practices scramble to expand capacity and maintain already slim operating margins. Find out what pay packages are being offered and if your practice is staying competitive.

Compensation for “physician extenders” continues to rise as practices scramble to expand capacity and maintain already slim operating margins.

As of the end of August, physician assistants in primary care offices averaged $93,000 annually, whereas nurse practitioners in the same setting earned $118,000, according to a survey from a major job search Web site. Five years ago, nurse practitioners in family practices made less than $70,000 and those working in internal medicine earned just under $74,000.

In addition to a substantially higher base salary, both midlevel providers now frequently earn individual performance and retention bonuses (nonproduction based), ranging from $3,500 to $5,000. About 28% receive incentives, including gain sharing and individual production-based bonuses, a trend that is on the upswing, according to Integrated Healthcare Strategies (IHS).

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants employed in medical specialty and surgical specialties make up to 10% more than their primary care colleagues. Advanced practice clinicians working in hospitals make 5% to 10% more than midlevel providers in office or clinic settings, reports IHS.

In 2010, there were approximately 75,000 physician assistants and 168,000 nurse practitioners in clinical practice.  Five states-California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas-employ more than a third of both groups of advance practice clinicians.

Primary care practices can learn more about where they stand relative to industry and regional trends and how to position themselves better in the competition for talent from the 2010 IHS survey. The 2011 IHS Advanced Practice Clinician Survey is open for participation until the end of September. Results will be released in December.

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