- Compensation for primary care physicians, specialists and non-physicians providers increased in 2018 and has gone up at an overall rate of between 7% and 11% over the past five years, according to a recent survey from the Medical Group Management Association.
- MGMA found wages went up most from 2017 to 2018 for specialists (4.4%), followed by PCPs (3.4%) and non-physician providers (3%). The survey used data from more than 147,000 providers across 5,500 organizations.
- The Midwest and South regions of the country had the highest increases. The specialists showing the biggest jumps were diagnostic radiology, general obstetrics and gynecology, neurological surgery, noninvasive cardiology and neurology, according to MGMA.
MGMA's findings are in line with other recent surveys. Medscape said physician pay was up 4% this year and has risen 20% since 2015.
"These compensation specifics allow medical practices to remain competitive and informed on the ever-evolving trends that continue to occur in the healthcare industry," Halee Fischer-Wright, president and CEO of MGMA, said in a statement. "The increases we are seeing are driven not only by supply and demand but also by an increase in productivity. Practices are staying ahead of the curve by monitoring these trends and in this case, offering higher wages and more incentives to attract and retain the talent they need."
Some hospital workers, however, have protested what they say are unacceptable contracts. Nurses throughout the country have staged or threatening strikes. Several health systems have made plans to raise their minimum wages to $15, as have companies in other industries.
Primary care compensation continues to lag behind specialty pay, despite a doctor shortage that is mostly felt in the primary care area. The Association of American Medical Colleges has warned the country will be short by as many as 55,000 PCPs in 2032.
And fewer physicians work for themselves now. The number of employed doctors surpassed those who are self-employed for the first time this year and was at 47.4% of all patient care physicians, according to the American Medical Association.
Overall hiring has been growing steadily this year, surpassing the growth of non-healthcare jobs. About 120,000 healthcare jobs were created in the first quarter of this year, this biggest quarterly gain in 30 years, according to Altarum.