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An Industry Benchmark: 20 Years of Physician Recruiting Incentives

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By Phillip Miller, vice president of communications, AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins

Twenty years can sure go by in a flash.

It does not seem that long ago that Merritt Hawkins, now an AMN Healthcare company, released its first annual Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives in 1994. It was in that year we determined that the company conducted a sufficient number of physician recruiting assignments nationwide (about 1,000) to have relevant data to share regarding which recruiting incentives are customary and competitive.

We have completed a Review every year since then, and our 2013 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, released this August, marks the 20th edition of this longstanding resource.    
We are proud of the fact it has become a widely referenced benchmark that hospitals, medical groups, and many other healthcare facilities use every year when crafting their own physician recruiting incentive packages.  The Review also is frequently cited by health industry, business and general publications as a credible source of starting physician salaries, bonuses, and related information.
The Review has evolved in many ways over the years, as have physician salaries.  Twenty years ago, the average starting salary for orthopedic surgeons cited in the Review was less than $240,000. In the 2013 Review, that number essentially doubled to $483,000. Compensation models also have changed.  In 1994, private practice income guarantees, typically offered to independent physicians, were a primary form of compensation structure.  In 2013, by contrast, income guarantees were offered in only 7% of the 3,097 search assignments tracked in the Review.  The great majority of physicians recruited today are employees who are paid salaries.             
While salaries and other metrics included in the Review have changed, so has the depth of analysis it offers.   We believe the Review now offers both a wealth of objective data and an insightful narrative describing the most recent physician recruiting trends.  It should prove useful to health facility administrators, physicians, media members and anyone else who follows physician compensation and workforce issues.     

See slides of key findings or read the survey preview.  
Please feel free to email me at if you would like a copy of the full 2013 Review.

Phillip Miller is vice president of communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AHS), the nation’s innovator of healthcare workforce solutions.

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