- Even though a majority of physicians either received the same or an increase in provider compensation in 2016, about one-quarter of them expressed dissatisfaction with their annual pay last year, a recent PraticeMatch survey revealed.
The survey of over 1,900 physicians showed that 39.9 percent of providers earned the same amount of income in 2016 compared to 2015.
Another 39.4 percent saw their provider compensation amounts increase according to the following pay bumps:
• 17 percent of providers saw between a 1 percent and 3 percent increase
• 10.9 percent of providers experienced between a 4 percent and 7 percent increase
• 11.5 percent of providers received an increase of 8 percent or more
Only 21 percent of physicians reported decreases in income, with 5.1 percent seeing a 1 percent to 3 percent drop, 6.4 percent experiencing a 4 percent to 7 percent reduction, and 9.1 percent receiving a decrease of 8 percent or more.
The survey also showed that specialists experienced the greatest provider compensation increases in 2016, with cardiologists earning the greatest annual income with an average of $364,000, followed by urologists with $357,400 and dermatologists with $325,667.
Specialists tend to earn considerably more than primary care providers, recent research showed. A survey from Medscape revealed that specialists received 45.6 percent more in annual provider compensation than primary care providers.
The survey also showed that primary care providers actually experienced a decrease in annual pay, with providers earning $100,000 less in 2017.
According to the PracticeMatch survey, specialists also tended to see the highest average sign-on bonuses in 2016. Cardiologists topped the list with an average bonus of $26,536.
In comparison, the average sign-on bonus across provider types was just $18,137 in 2016.
Researchers also found that sign-on bonuses were most frequently given to hospitalists with 44 percent of the provider type reporting a bonus.
The second most common provider type to receive a sign-on bonus were cardiologists with 33 percent earning a bonus, followed by urologists with 32 percent and family medicine providers with 28 percent.
Despite few physicians earning less than they did the previous year, 19.4 percent of providers stated that they were dissatisfied with their provider compensation arrangement in 2016 and another 5.1 percent were extremely dissatisfied.
Student loan debt may be a contributing factor to provider compensation discontentment. Almost 30 percent of physicians reported that they have an outstanding loan balance.
However, only 9 percent of provider received student loan assistance in 2016.
Researchers pointed out that the number of physicians with outstanding student loan balances was significant, especially considering the average experience level of respondents. The average years in practice among respondents was 17 years and the average years at their current job was 11 years.
On the other hand, a majority of providers were content with their annual pay in 2016. Roughly 45 percent of physicians expressed satisfaction with their provider compensation amount in 2016.
Another 20.7 percent stated they were very satisfied and 9.7 percent were extremely satisfied.
Consequently, few physicians contacted a medical recruiter to inquire about new positions or openings in a physician practice. Almost 67 percent of providers reported that they had no contact with a medical recruiter in 2016.
Out of the physicians who did contact a recruiter about open positions, 22.9 percent reached out to one to three recruiters, while about 5 percent contacted between four and six and 5.5 percent spoke with over seven.
While most providers reported no contact with medical recruiters, employee turnover still remains a major challenge for most healthcare organizations. Average healthcare turnover rate reached 19.2 percent in 2015, accounting for a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year, a recent Compdata survey showed.