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Monday, May 6, 2013

Shortage concerns driving up first-year compensation for primary care

Competition for primary care physicians is leading practices to offer bigger initial paychecks and bonuses.

According to a survey released last week by MGMA-ACMPE, the median first-year guaranteed compensation for primary care physicians last year was $180,000, up from $175,000 in 2011.

Internists received the highest first-year median at $180,000, which didn't change from 2011. The median for family physicians (not including obstetrics) grew more than 4 percent to $170,000, while the median for pediatricians/adolescent medicine increased almost 7 percent to $160,000.

The MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data included responses from 5,225 providers in 629 medical organizations.

The researchers attributed the gains to growing concern that there won't be enough primary care physicians available when hundreds of thousands of new patients begin seeking care either because of age or new access to insurance under federal health care reform.

The report said practices are trying to attract brand new and experienced doctors with signing bonuses, paid relocation expenses, loan forgiveness, paid vacations, or continuing medical education.

The survey also measured doctor mobility and found that the Midwest saw the most movement of physicians away from the region last year, while the least movement occurred in the West.

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