Where do primary care physicians earn most — urban, rural or mid-sized communities?

Primary care physicians looking for a new gig might want to consider looking in a rural area. Not only do many rural areas have significant need for PCPs, but they may also offer the biggest compensation packages, according to data from The Medicus Firm, a national healthcare staffing company.

The Medicus Firm compiled data based on its placements of PCPs and physician assistants made with more than 250 hospitals, health systems and medical groups in 2015.

Here are six takeaways on PCP and PA compensation based on its findings.

1. Internal medicine physicians bring home higher salaries on average than family practice physicians. Based on data provided by The Medicus Firm, the average family practice physician salary was $210,192 in 2015. Comparatively, the average internal medicine salary was $238,975 in 2015 or about 14 percent more than family practice.

2. By average placement salary, rural settings are the most lucrative for both internal medicine physicians and family practice physicians. The average placement salary for family practitioners in rural areas was $227,261 — 16 percent more than the average urban salary and nearly 10 percent more than the average salary in a mid-sized community. For internal medicine physicians the average rural placement salary of $256,667 is 13 percent greater than its urban equivalent and 10 percent greater than the mid-sized community average.

3. Average signing bonuses across both family practice and internal medicine seem to follow the trend of greater awards in rural areas. The average primary care signing bonus is $19,714, according to the The Medicus Firm. However, broken down by family practice and internal medicinephysicians,the signing bonus data shows no clear trend. Internal medicine physicians placed in mid-sized communities saw the highest average signing bonus of $27,127, and the lowest was in urban communities, where the signing bonus was $10,417. The highest average signing bonus for family practice physicians was in rural areas, at $23,181, and the lowest was in mid-sized communities at $16,111.

4. Average total compensation — including both salary and signing bonus — got larger as community size got smaller. Despite the range of signing bonuses, total compensation, like average salary trends, shows a negative correlation between total compensation and population size.

5. By geographic region, both average salary and average total compensation was highest in the Central U.S./Upper Midwest and the South/Southwest. This includes Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

6. PAs earned an average salary of $112,680 and an average signing bonus of $6,250 in 2015. About one-third were paid relocation bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, averaging about $8,751. PAs were the fourth most-placed clinician in 2015, according to The Medicus Firm. Salary and compensation data by community size and region was not available.

Note: Salary data includes base salary only, unless indicated otherwise. It does not include bonus compensation or benefits. It reflects primarily outpatient-only primary care opportunities. Averages include physicians of all ages and experience levels. About one-third of candidates are new, entry level physicians, while the rest have more experience.

Community size is classified by population. A rural community was considered a population of 25,000 or fewer, a mid-sized community was considered a population of 25,001 to 500,000 and an urban community had a population of 500,001 or greater.


More articles on compensation:

No pay raises for Community Health Systems CEO and CFO in 2016
Tenet CEO and CFO compensation slashed in 2015
What physicians think they should be earning

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