Survey: Compensation still key to physician retention

Compensation remains the top reason for physicians to contemplate changing careers, per a survey by The Medicus Firm.

Nearly 3 in 10 physicians cited concerns about appropriate compensation as the primary reason they would consider a career change, according to a recent survey.

Results from the 14th annual Physician Practice Preference & Relocation Survey from The Medicus Firm show more than 17% of respondents will “likely” or “definitely” look to make a career change within the next year. Notably, the number of physicians indicating retirement is likely to play a role in their decision to change careers nearly doubled over last year.

Based on these results, quality compensation packages and reasonable scheduling demands could be the key to keeping physicians around, according to Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm. “With these responses, physicians are indicating that they want the best possible compensation, relative to how much time they have to put into the job,” he said in an announcement accompanying the survey’s release.

Here are some of the survey’s other notable findings:

  • The number of physicians approving of the Affordable Care Act’s efficacy rose to 76% overall, though almost half of survey respondents indicated their pay did not reflect quality- or outcomes-based incentives.
  • In a shift from previous years, more physicians stated a preference for single-specialty group practice than for hospital employment. The preference was more marked for experienced physicians, who preferred single-specialty practice by a two-to-one margin, than for new and future physicians, whose preferences showed a more even split between the settings.
  • Despite indications of rising salaries, particularly among primary care physicians, the survey found a roughly even split among physicians’ attitudes toward their current income, with roughly a third each landing in the satisfied, unsatisfied and neutral camps.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 physicians indicated decreases in reimbursement represented the greatest limiting factor on their income, which suggests a reason for the deep unease with which physicians and advocacy groups view the Medicaid cuts promulgated in the latest healthcare reform bill on Capitol Hill.