|Despite Economic Woes, Physician Compensation Increases
Physicians saw their salaries increase in 2008 with an
average salary increase of 4.4 percent for specialists and 4.0 percent
for primary care physicians, according to Sullivan, Cotter and
Associates Inc. (SullivanCotter) 2008 Physician Compensation and
Productivity Survey Report.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the survey
participants provided salary increases to their employed physicians in
2008, which is comparable to last year, when 73 percent reported
providing a salary increase.
The results also point to increased use of incentive
plans, compensation tied to quality measures and a decrease in the
rates paid per work Relative Value Units (wRVUs). A total of 257
healthcare organizations nationwide participated in the survey, which
includes compensation data for over 41,000 physicians in over 150
According to Kim Mobley, a principal at SullivanCotter
and the survey director, "While the majority of organizations provided
salary increases to physicians, some organizations also decreased
compensation for at least some of their physicians. In fact, 10 percent
of survey participants decreased cash compensation levels in 2008."
This is less than the 18 percent of organizations
reporting decreases in cash compensation in 2007. "When organizations
decrease physician compensation, most often it is linked to individual
productivity and/or labor market benchmark norms," she adds.
The current physician recruitment environment is highly
competitive and survey results indicated an increase in hiring bonuses.
This year, 57 percent of the participants used hiring bonuses, compared
to only 49 percent last year. Interestingly, the amounts paid have
remained relatively stable, with average hiring bonuses of $10,000 for
primary care physicians and $17,500 for specialists.
According to the survey, 70 percent of organizations use incentive compensation for their physicians; up from 60 percent.
Address: Sullivan, Cotter and Associates Inc., 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2048, New York, NY 10111; (212) 322-3287, www.sullivancotter.com.