MGMA: 56% of First-Year Physicians Get Signing Bonuses

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 26, 2011

Physicians are becoming savvy at negotiating employment contracts. Signing bonuses, paid relocation packages, and even loan forgiveness packages are not unheard of.

Median first-year guaranteed compensation was nearly $20,000 higher for specialty-care physicians in multispecialty practices than in single-specialty practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association's Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data.

Specialty physicians earned a median first-year guaranteed salary of $258,677 in multispecialty practices and $240,596 in single-specialty practices. However, primary care physicians received a median first-year guaranteed salary of $165,000 in multispecialty practices and $172,400 in single specialty practices – a difference of 4.5%. 

Since 2008, primary and specialty-care physicians have either seen their first-year guaranteed compensation increase or stay the same, the survey from Englewood, CO-based MGMA found.

A physician's first-year compensation also depends upon geography. Median first-year compensation was the same for primary care physicians across the Eastern, Midwest, and Southern geographic sections at $170,000 per year.

Specialty care physicians' median first-year compensation varied more by geographic section. In the Southern and Western sections, first-year compensation was highest at $275,000 and $270,000, respectively. The Midwest and Eastern regions held the lowest median first-year compensation for specialists at $250,000 and $220,000, respectively, the survey found.

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