Although reimbursement changes related to the Affordable Care Act make it difficult for many practices to give raises to their existing physicians, new data from the Medical Group Management Association suggests that the increased demand created by the law continues to drive more competitive offers to recruit new doctors.
In particular, starting salaries for primary care physicians are on a steady rise, according to MGMA. When placed in a new practice in 2013, primary care physicians earned a median first-year guaranteed compensation of $186,475, up from $180,000 in 2012 and $175,000 in 2011. Meanwhile, newly hired specialists commanded $260,000 in 2013.
In addition to compensation, physicians participating in the MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2014 Report Based on 2013 Data reported accepting offers that included paid relocation expenses (72 percent) and signing bonuses (60 percent).
While signing bonuses were once considered "icing on the cake" of most recruitment packages, they are increasingly becoming an expectation, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously. In particular, a survey from the Medicus Firm revealed that that 85.27 percent of the company's searches that resulted in an offer in 2012 involved a signing bonus. The average amount was $24,037, but the highest bonus was $150,000.
"Medical practices are offering a number of benefits to recruit physicians," Laura Palmer, MGMA senior industry analyst, said in an announcement. "With the initial uncertainty surrounding how ACA insurance exchanges would impact healthcare organizations, medical practices were very savvy in planning ahead and anticipating how potential changes to their population may affect their ability to accommodate patients."