Healthcare Staffing Report: July 14, 2016

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Starting salaries for physicians surge

Starting salaries for both primary care and specialist physicians spiked in the last 12 months, reflecting a rising demand for physicians and a growing physician shortage, according to a report released by Merritt Hawkins, the physician search division of AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AHS).

Merritt Hawkins’ 2016 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives tracks the 3,342 physician and advanced practitioner recruiting assignments the firm conducted from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

Starting salaries increased year over year in 19 of the 20 medical specialties for which the report provides data, with double digit jumps in many specialties — including internal medicine — underlying the intense competition for physicians.

The starting salary offer made to family physicians now is $225,000, up 13% from 2015 and the first time it has exceeded $200,000 since the tracking started.

“Demand for physicians is as intense as we have seen it in our 29-year history,” said Travis Singleton, senior VP of Merritt Hawkins. “The expansion of health insurance coverage, population growth, population aging, expanded care sites such as urgent care centers and other factors are driving demand for doctors through the roof, and salaries are spiking as a consequence.”

For the tenth consecutive year, family medicine was Merritt Hawkins’ most-requested search assignment, by far the longest period any one specialty has held this position. Psychiatry is ranked as Merritt Hawkins’ second most-requested search assignment — the first time psychiatry has held this position in the 23 years Merritt Hawkins has compiled its review.

The average salaries of the five most-requested physician search assignments, by medical specialty, at Merritt Hawkins from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, are:

  • Family medicine: $225,000, up 13.6% year over year
  • Psychiatry: $250,000, up 10.6%
  • Internal medicine: $237,000, up 14.5%
  • Hospitalist: $249,000, up 7.3%
  • Nurse practitioner: $117,000, up 9.3%

Merritt Hawkins’ 2016 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives is based on Merritt Hawkins and AMN Healthcare’s permanent physician recruiting assignments.

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