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9 in 10 New Physician Jobs Follow Employment Model

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 30, 2014

Despite the persistent grumbling from many physicians about a loss of autonomy as employees, Singleton says the Merritt Hawkins search results paint a different picture.

"This is not a survey where I may catch someone on the wrong day and this is what they want to do or what they are threatening to do. This is what they did in the past year," he says.

"It clearly shows that if you're a newly hired physician or provider, whether you've been practicing for 30 years or you are just out of residency, you have a nine-in-10 chance of taking an employed job. I am hard pressed to see that we are forcing people into that model. You wouldn't see such drastic numbers if that is not what both sides wanted."

Family Docs Remain the Top Search

For the eighth straight year, family physicians and general internists were the top two recruiting requests. Singleton says the demand for primary care physicians comes in large part from their enhanced roles as team care leaders for accountable care organizations and other value-based delivery networks.

"On a singular search the difficultly level for finding primary care physicians is the same as it has been in years past," Singleton says. "Unfortunately we aren't talking about single searches in family practice anymore. Primary care is the name of the game. It may not be an integrated network calling me for one or two docs to fill a void. They're calling for 50 or 100 at once because that is the only way to accomplish their population health goals."

While the compensation for primary care physicians remains considerably less than most subspecialists, Singleton says progress has been made in recent years.

"Primary care compensation never will outstrip specialists. That is not how our system is built," he says.

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