Primary care physicians in highest demand 7 years running

Family physicians top the list of most-recruited doctors, followed by general internists, spots they've held for seven years in a row, according to a new survey from the physician search firm, Merritt Hawkins.

The reasons primary care physicians have stayed in such high demand are many, including recruitment to prepare for healthcare reform and a need to staff a growing number of other healthcare facilities, such as urgent care centers and retail clinics, the firm noted.

Other key findings of Merritt Hawkins' 2013 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, which tracks the 3,097 recruiting assignments the firm conducted from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, include the following:

  • Physician assistants and nurse practitioners, increasingly sought-after to make up gaps in primary care, made the list of the top 20 recruited specialties for the first time in the survey's 20-year history.
  • Geriatricians, in high demand to care for an aging population, also made the top-20 list for the first time.
  • Sixty-four percent of Merritt Hawkins' search assignments for 2013 featured hospital employment of physicians, compared to just 11 percent in 2004. Other sites of service for which Merritt Hawkins recruits, including large medical groups, academic centers, and community health centers, also typically employ physicians, leaving very few settings for truly independent doctors, Merritt Hawkins president Mark Smith noted in an announcement.
  • Thirty-nine percent of 2013 recruiting assignments offered physicians a production bonus,including payments based on quality of care metrics, while fewer than 7 percent of compensation formulas factored quality measures as recently as 2011. While quality metrics are increasingly being tied to pay, Smith said that they generally amount to less than 10 percent of a physician's potential bonus, an observation supported by a recent survey from the Medical Group Management Association.

To learn more:
- see the announcement (.pdf) from Merritt Hawkins