In light of the rapid growth of new health care industry jobs, medical residents and practicing physicians have a wide range of career opportunities in front of them, and physician compensation remains one of the most important factors to physicians as they choose from among these opportunities. The recently released 2014 MGMA Physician Compensation Report provides a great overview of compensation data and trends.
Factors that determine physician compensation
The report, which is based on 2013 data from more than 4,000 groups and nearly 67,000 providers, sheds light on where to find the highest-paying positions and which factors determine physician compensation. The primary factors include:
- Metropolitan Area Population
- Geographic Region
Both primary and specialty care physicians earned the highest salaries in metropolitan areas of 50,000 to 250,000 residents. Specialty care physicians earned the highest average salary, $433,900, in the southern U.S., whereas primary care physicians earned the highest average salary, $238,968, in the western U.S.
In addition to education and professional experience, other factors that determine physician compensation include health care coverage limitations, call frequency, trauma center status, and private practice status versus employed status.
A new twist in the 2014 MGMA Compensation Report
Another factor has emerged that influences physician compensation. According to the MGMA, findings from primary care physicians showed that nearly six percent of their compensation derives from quality metrics, which include value-based measurements such as patient care quality and customer service. Todd Evenson, Vice President of Data Solutions for MGMA said, “This is going to be a gradual shift. … It will be a trend that we will see evolve.” Evenson says quality metrics such as customer service should play an increasingly crucial role in determining physician compensation packages. The success of establishing quality metrics depends on the accuracy of measurement tools.
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