Blog | Tuesday, May 31, 2011

QD: News Every Day--Doctors improve pay, signing perks

Primary care physicians received higher median first-year guaranteed salaries in single-specialty practices, while specialty-care physicians received more in multispecialty practices, according to a survey.

Primary care physicians received a median first-year guaranteed salary of $165,000 in multispecialty practices and $172,400 in single specialty practices. Specialty physicians earned a median first-year guaranteed salary of $258,677 in multispecialty practices and $240,596 in single-specialty practices. Since 2008, both primary and specialty-care physicians have either seen their first-year guaranteed compensation increase or stay the same.

Geography and other bonuses at signing also affected compensation, reported the Medical Group Management Association in its Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data.

Median first-year compensation was the same for primary care physicians across the Eastern, Midwest, and Southern U.S., at $170,000 per year. Specialty care physicians’ median first-year compensation varied more. In the Southern and Western sections, first-year compensation was highest at $275,000 and $270,000, respectively. The Midwest and Eastern regions held the lowest median first-year compensation for specialists, at $250,000 and $220,000, respectively.

In addition to first-year guaranteed compensation, benefits such as signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and amount of paid relocation expenses helped shape physician recruitment. Employers were more likely to offer loan forgiveness packages to primary care physicians than specialty-care physicians. Also accompanying job offers:
--56% of physicians received signing bonuses,
--12% received loan forgiveness packages, most of which were $50,000 or less, and
--56% accepted paid relocation.

A press release explained that demand for physicians has made recruiting more difficult while the doctors themselves have become better at negotiating employment terms and signing bonuses.

The survey comprises 4,295 providers categorized by specialty, as well as starting salary information on 1,986 physicians directly out of residency or fellowship. All voluntary participated.