Demand for Physician Assistants Intensifies

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 10, 2014

Across specialties and practice settings, 46% of PAs in the AAPA survey say they get bonuses in addition to their base salary, and that the bonuses are largely dependent on performance outcomes such as productivity and quality improvement. Three-fourths of the PAs say their base pay is from annual salary, 22% say they're paid an hourly wage, and 3% say they're compensation is based on productivity measures determined through relative value units, patient encounters, charges and collections.

Employer type also factors into compensation. Higher median PA base salaries are reported in university hospitals ($93,000) and other hospitals ($95,000), while the lowest compensation is in solo physician practices ($85,000). Thirty-seven percent of PAs provide medical services in hospitals and 10.3% work in solo practices, the survey found.

Nearly one-third of PAs (32%) are practicing in primary care. However, just as with physicians, PAs who gravitate towards specialties make more money. Average compensation for PA specialties such as dermatology ($117,000), emergency medicine ($108,000) and surgery ($105,000), were considerably higher than for PAs working in primary care and family medicine, who reported earning less ($94,000 and $93,400, respectively).

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