Compensation Issues

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Starting salaries of 5 most sought-after provider specialties

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The average starting salary of family medicine physicians — the most-requested practitioners for 10 consecutive years by healthcare organizations — eclipsed $200,000 this year for the first time, according to Merritt Hawkins, an Irving, Texas-based physician search firm.

In fact, physician salaries are increasing across the board, based on more than 3,300 permanent physician and advanced practitioner recruiting assignments made between April 2015 and March 2016 by Merritt Hawkins and its parent company AMN Healthcare. The report "2016 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives" indicates the top five most recruited specialties have experienced an average increase of 11 percent in starting salary.

These increases are driven by regions with fewer physicians per capita, as these environments have lower competition. Increases are also more substantial in areas with high rates of fee-for-service medicine. As such, physician salaries are the highest in the Southwest, where physicians are sparser and fee-for-service still reigns, while salaries are lowest in the Northeast where the opposite is true, according to Merritt Hawkins.

Here are the 2016 average starting salaries of the top five most recruited providers, in order of demand, according to Merritt Hawkins.

1. Family medicine physicians — $225,000 (13.6 percent increase year over year)

2. Psychiatrists — $250,000 (10.6 percent increase)

3. Internal medicine physicians — $237,000 (14.5 percent increase)

4. Hospitalists — $249,000 (7.3 percent increase)

5. Nurse practitioners — $117,000 (9.3 percent increase)

 

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