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Docs Hope for Incentive Bonuses to Offset Smaller Pay Increases

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 26, 2013

Although annual incentive plans for physicians were being used in 63% of physician group and hospital settings in 2013, compared to 64% in 2012, Otto predicts that the future holds a growing emphasis on incentive payouts in income negotiations.

"We expect an evolution, not a revolution, in incentive plan design for physicians in coming years," Otto added in a statement. "Providers are looking to translate their organizational goals in a more tangible way that will drive the desired behaviors and outcomes they want to achieve."

Generally, physicians across all organizations expect median salary increases of 2.4% in 2014, compared to actual increases of 2.5% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2011, according to the survey. The Hay Group is still calculating the 2013 increase, but that was projected at 2.6%.

Physicians in group-based practices in 2014 expect pay increases of 3.7%, compared to doctors in hospital-based settings, whose average increases are projected at 2.2%. Within the past year, the median percentage increases in physician salaries ranged from a low of 2% to a high of 5%, with much of that dependent on productivity and performance, according to the survey.

Primary care physicians can expect slightly higher salary increases than specialists in 2014, particularly in hospital-based settings. While primary care physicians and specialists in hospital settings each received 2.3% pay increases in 2012–2013, primary care physicians at hospitals are budgeted for 2.6% increases in 2014, while specialists at hospitals are scheduled for 2.3% budgeted increases, according to the Hay report.

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