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Hottest Job in Healthcare Still Primary Care Physician

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 28, 2013

Other Recruiting Trends
Nonetheless, quality measures averaged less than 10% of a physician's potential bonus in 2013 and volume is still the key driver of physician incentives. The survey identified these trends as well:

  • For the first time in the 20 years Merritt Hawkins has been conducting their review, physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners were among the top 20 recruiting assignments.
  • Also for the first time, geriatricians cracked the top 20 and are being actively recruited to supplement elder care traditionally provided by internists, pulmonary and palliative care specialists.
  • Hospitalists ranked third among the top 20 search assignments, probably because their training and emphasis on coordinating inpatient care and reducing readmissions are aligned with the goals of new care delivery models such as accountable care organizations.
  • Other hospital-based physicians, particularly emergency medicine physicians, are in increased demand, as data show that a greater prevalence of insured patients does not necessarily decrease emergency room visits – a significant trend as millions of the previously uninsured begin to obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
  • The trend toward hospital employment of physicians continues and represented 64% of search assignments in 2012/13, up from 11% in 2004.
  • Demand for physicians is not confined to underserved rural areas. Merritt Hawkins worked in 48 states in 2012/13 and 49% of the firm's searches were in communities of 100,000 people or more, the highest percentage in the 20-year history of the review.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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1 comments on "Hottest Job in Healthcare Still Primary Care Physician"


J. Kuriyan (8/28/2013 at 3:40 PM)
In the early days of managed care there was the assertion that "90%" of all medical costs were routed through the PCP - making the PCP a most powerful player in managed care. Not challenging the actual percentage, the point was simply that in managed care all care is channeled through the PCP gatekeeper. This made some of the PCPs quite arrogant in their dealings with specialists in their IPAs and PHOs. Others even formed companies like PHYCOR that had only PCPs as owners. The trouble was that the trillion dollars that PCPs were indirectly responsible never really passed through the PCPs office - and there was never an opportunity to retain even a small part of it. In fact various versions of the Stark Law prohibited any self-aggrandizements. Meaning, PCPs were just tasked with referring the money out to others - clearly not a very powerful piece of the puzzle that was managed care. They continued to toil and they made very little, as before, except now they even have management responsibilities. Repeating the same program won't work any better. What is needed is a way to fully compensate PCPs for preventive care programs - and that will truly be an extra souce of income. Currently wellness programs for big companies cost in excess of $1000 per year. Compare that with what a PCP gets paid by a managed care plan - $200 per year!If part of that $1000 can be paid to a PCP then we will truly see PCPs making a decent wage. But the insurer's won't like that. They'll claim that prevention is part of what PCPs are supposed to offer - and the $200 they get covers it adequately!