March 10 2017

Four Percent of Physicians Offered 6-Figure Signing Bonuses in 2016

The Medicus Firm, a national search firm specializing in permanent placement of physicians, NPs, and PAs, released its annual placement summary report, based on the hiring activity of more than 250 healthcare employers nationally, and hundreds of provider placements.

The key highlights from the 2017 Physician Placement Report, based on hiring patterns from 2012 through 2016, include the following trends:

  • Signing bonuses increased in average amount and utilization rate in 2016.  Ninety percent of physicians were paid a signing bonus, while 4.2 percent of doctors were offered a six-figure signing bonus ranging from $100,000 – $200,000. The average physician signing bonus paid in 2016 was $24,802, up from $23,663 in 2015.
  • International physicians comprised 31.77 percent of placements made in 2016. This statistic has been of particular interest due to the uncertainty about the future of U.S. immigration policy, in light of an Executive Order signed in late January, which has since been rejected. Nationally, internationally trained physicians comprise about 25 percent of the physician workforce, according to data from the AAMC and AMA.
  • Placement rate of advanced practice clinicians increased significantly for the fourth consecutive year. Placements of PAs and NPs have grown steadily since 2012, when only 1.32 percent of placements were NPs and PAs. In 2016, non-physician advanced practice placements comprised 12 percent of total provider placements, up from 8.3 percent in 2015. Physician assistants were the 2nd most frequently placed provider, and nurse practitioners were also among the top ten providers.
  • Primary care comprised the majority of physician placements again in 2016. Hiring of internists, pediatricians, and family practitioners accounted for 35 percent of placements made in 2016.
  • Employment vs. Private Practice: Physician employment as a practice model continues to dominate physician recruiting activity nationwide, with 91 percent of physicians placed being hired on as employees. This is consistent with 2015 employment rate of 92 percent.
  • Hiring of osteopathic physicians (DOs) declined to its lowest rate since 2012. However, the rate only fluctuates within a range of about five percentage points. Eight percent (7.98%) of physicians placed in 2016 were DOs, compared to 11.74 percent in 2015. According to AACOM, seven percent of practicing U.S. physicians are DOs, and 20 percent of current medical students are studying osteopathic medicine.
  • Mid-sized communities (pop. 25,001-500,000) comprised 44 percent of 2016 placements made. The remaining placements were fairly evenly split between urban areas (29%) and rural communities (26%).

The firm releases this report each year to help industry executives learn about hiring trends in healthcare, especially among physicians and advanced practice clinicians such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).

“This report, based on annual placement records of all placements made in partnership with our clients nationwide, reveals patterns in the hiring activities of hospitals and health systems across the country, and illustrates trends in the placement of physicians and advanced practice clinicians in a variety of practice settings and types of communities,” states Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm. “There were not really many surprises this year. That said, some of the most notable trends include the greater-than-expected growth in placements of non-physician providers, as well as the extent to which the size of signing bonuses offered continues to increase.”

The top five types of providers, based on volume of placements in 2016 were:

  1. Family Medicine
  2. Physician Assistant
  3. Internal Medicine Physician
  4. OB/Gyn Physician
  5. Hospitalist

About The Medicus Firm:

The Medicus Firm is an award-winning, leading national physician search firm, specializing in permanent placement of physicians, NPs, and PAs of all specialties, in a variety of practice settings, including national health systems, community hospitals, academic medical centers, and more. From its offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Boston, The Medicus Firm has built one of the largest, most tenured and knowledgeable teams of physician recruiters in the industry. Multiple industry distinctions including Best of Staffing, Best Places to Work in Healthcare, and an Executive Partnership with the MGMA attest to the efficacy of The Medicus Firm’s unique client-focused, regional approach to the physician search process, which ensures optimum results and quality of service. The Medicus Firm is part of the M3 USA family of companies, operating independently.

For a complimentary copy of the full report, physician employers may contact Steve Marsh, Managing Partner:

For media inquiries, and a media copy of the report, please contact Andrea Clement, Director of Communications:, 404.990.3614.

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