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Recruiting, Retaining Physicians Requires Finesse

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 28, 2013

Stone says that hospitals also may not prepare themselves adequately in the hiring process, whether it's failure to properly plan interviews or draw up a contract.

As physicians consider their prospective employers, they will certainly expect slightly higher salaries this year than in 2012.  Budgeted salary increases have risen 2.6% this year, according to the Hay Group's 2012 Physician Compensation Survey. That compares to a 2.5% increase from 2011 to 2012. Hay Group is a global management-consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality.

Generally, physician pay increases will continue, with shrinking labor pools, says Jim Otto, senior principal at the Hay Group, and a leader of the company's healthcare executive compensation practice. But Otto doesn't expect extravagant pay increases, not by a long shot.

"Healthcare organizations and physician groups are dealing with shrinking revenues and increasing demands," says Otto. "How you deal with that is by providing more efficiency. You are going to see continued increases but you are not going to see a spike in primary care salaries."

The major focus, to no one's surprise, is on primary care physicians, Otto says. Those employed by hospitals can expect a 2% salary increase in 2013, while group-based primary care physicians can expect a 3% salary hike. That is compared to an actual increase of 5% in 2012 for group-based primary care physicians, and a 2% salary increase for hospital-based primary care physicians, he says.

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