July 18, 2018 - Dallas, Texas - The Medicus Firm, a national physician search firm, released its 15th annual Physician Practice Preference and Relocation Report in July. Conducted in May 2018, the survey reflects physician insight from 2,219 doctors, NPs, and PAs from across the country, representing more than 20 medical specialties. Each year, physicians and advanced practice clinicians are asked to provide their opinions and thoughts on a variety of career-related topics including compensation, career satisfaction, practice preferences, concerns, and more. Some trends were fairly consistent with results from previous years, for better or for worse.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," states Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm. "As the healthcare industry continually evolves, physicians have had to adapt to countless changes throughout their careers, from new technology and clinical developments, to new insurance plans, legislative changes, and more. However, despite the ever-changing nature of the industry, some trends seem to consistently ring true over the years."
For example, larger metro areas and suburban communities continue to dominate the responses when physicians are asked to select their most preferred type of community in which to live and work. However, experienced physicians who are already in practice are more open to smaller communities than new or future physicians. Sixteen percent of practicing physicians selected small towns or rural areas as their top choice of community size, compared to six percent of residents and fellows.
The southeast and northeast regions were once again voted in the top two preferred regions in which to live and practice, but the gap between the two regions narrowed quite a bit, from an 11-point difference to a 6-point one. Also, the mid-atlantic region dropped out of third place and was replaced by two regions tying with 12% of the votes for each the Pacific (CA, NV, HI) and Great Lakes (OH, MI, IN, IL, WI, MN) regions.
In recent years. the top two most preferred practice settings among practicing physicians have been private group practice, and hospital employment. This year, 32% of practicing physicians prefer single-specialty groups, and 20% prefer hospital employment, which is a 4 point increase over last year's interest in hospital employment. However, another 17% of physicians prefer multi-specialty groups, and 11% prefer university or academic employed opportunities.
"About 90% of our physician placements over the past two years have been hired by clients as employed physicians, as opposed to being set up in private practice. Yet only 20% of physicians vote for hospital employment as their top choice of practice setting," states Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm. "The results seem to indicate that in an ideal world, many physicians would prefer to be an owner or partner in a private group practice, but today's healthcare environment is simply more conducive to physician employment, and the majority of available practice opportunities currently are employed positions."
Fewer than half of physicians surveyed this year (43%) are certain that their compensation plan includes some component of value-based pay, and half of those report that the value-based component is 10% or less of their total income. This is only a two percent increase over last year's results for this same question.
Nearly one-fourth of physicians moonlight on a regular basis. Additionally, there was a two percent uptick in physicians who report working more than 60 hours per week, to 18.4%, while 35% report working 41-50 hours per week, and 19% report working 51-60 hours per week.
The physician compensation results by specialty will be published in the Modern Healthcare annual compensation issue, July 23, 2018. Additionally, the report is available to the media and to clients and candidates of the firm. Physicians and employers may contact their recruiting consultant directly to request a copy.
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