Nearly three-fourths of searches offered a salary and production bonus, and 54% of the bonuses are based on Relative Value Units. In addition, 35% of searches offering production bonuses featured a quality-based measure.
"The big theme I am hearing in the marketplace is that people know we have to go from volume to value but how we do that is still a mystery," Mosley says. "We are seeing them try to wean physicians off these volume-based rewards and wean them into quality measures. People are trying not to drive up to the wall going 60mph before they figure out how to stop."
The survey also found that:
- For the seventh year primary care physicians led demand, and family physicians and general internists were the two most requested primary care searches.
- Psychiatry was third on the list of most requested searches.
- General surgery was the fifth most requested searches and the most requested surgical specialty.
- Certain medical specialists, including ED physicians, orthopedic surgeons, OB/GYNs, pulmonologists, urologists, dermatologists, and hematologists/oncologists remain in strong demand.
- Demand for some medical specialists has decreased. Radiology, which was Merritt Hawkins' most requested specialty in 2003, ranked 18th in 2011/12. For the first time in the history of the survey Anesthesiology was not among the 20 most requested searches.
- Signing bonuses, relocation and continuing medical education allowances are standard in most physician recruitment packages.
- Salaries have almost entirely replaced income guarantees. Only 7% of physician searches featured income guarantees, down from 21% in 2006/07 and 41% in 2003/2004.
- Housing allowances were offered in 5% of recruiting searches, which was the same as last year but up from less than 1% two years ago. "We had a lot of doctors who couldn't move because they were upside down in their homes," Mosley says.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.