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1 in 2 Physician Job Openings Are in Hospitals

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 10, 2011

Most job openings for physicians are in hospitals, while demand for private practice physicians is on the wane, a national survey shows.

Merritt Hawkins’ 2011 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives tracks more than 2,660 physician recruiting assignments the Irving, TX-based physician recruiters conducted nationwide from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011. In that time, 56% of the physician search assignments featured jobs with hospitals, up from 23% five years ago. Only 2% of Merritt Hawkins’ search assignments featured openings for independent, solo practitioners, down from 17% five years ago.

"The era of the independent physician who owns and runs his or her practice is fading," said Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s largest physician search and consulting firm, in a media release. "Doctors today are more likely to be employees working for increasingly large health systems or medical groups."

For the sixth straight year family physicians were the search firm’s most requested type of doctor, followed by internists, hospitalists, psychiatrists, and orthopedic surgeons. Health reform and new delivery models such as Accountable Care Organizations are driving the need for additional family physicians and internists, Singleton said.

While the demand for primary care physicians is on the rise, it continues to be the lowest paying in medicine, according to the survey. Average base salary for a family practice physician was $178,000 in 2011, $183,000 for pediatricians, $205,000 for internists, and $217,000 for hospitalists.

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