Bigger signing bonuses, demand for nonphysician providers in 2016

More physicians were paid signing bonuses in 2016.

Signing bonuses for physicians got even larger in 2016 and there was a greater-than-expected growth in placements of nonphysician providers, according to a new summary report from The Medicus Firm.

The annual report gives a snapshot of hiring patterns at hospitals and health systems across the country, and illustrates trends in the placement of physicians and advanced practice clinicians in a variety of practice settings and types of communities, according to Jim Stone, president of the firm.

The staffing company reported the following trends based on the hiring activity of more than 250 healthcare employers nationally, and hundreds of provider placements:

Signing bonuses. Once considered icing on the cake when it came to physician recruitment, the average amount and use of signing bonuses increased in 2016, the report found. Ninety percent of physicians were paid a signing bonus and 4.2% were offered a six-figure bonus ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. The average signing bonus was $24,802, which increased from an average $23,663 in 2015.

Placement of nonphysician clinicians. There was also a greater demand for advanced practice clinicians for the fourth consecutive year, the report found. Placements of both physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) comprised 12% of the company’s total provider placements in 2016, up from 8.3% in 2015. Those numbers have grown steadily since 2012, when only 1.32% of placements were PAs and NPs.

International physicians. Internationally-trained physicians made up 31.77% of placements in 2016, the company said, an interesting statistic given President Donald Trump’s plans to reissue an executive order on his travel ban and its possible effect on foreign-born doctors.

Growth of employed physicians. Physician employment continued to dominate recruiting nationwide, the report found. Some 91% of physicians placed by the company were hired as employees versus those in private practice.

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