MGMA: 56% of First-Year Physicians Get Signing Bonuses

John Commins, May 26, 2011

Physicians are becoming savvy at negotiating employment contracts. Signing bonuses, paid relocation packages, and even loan forgiveness packages are not unheard of.

Median first-year guaranteed compensation was nearly $20,000 higher for specialty-care physicians in multispecialty practices than in single-specialty practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association's Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data.

Specialty physicians earned a median first-year guaranteed salary of $258,677 in multispecialty practices and $240,596 in single-specialty practices. However, primary care physicians received a median first-year guaranteed salary of $165,000 in multispecialty practices and $172,400 in single specialty practices – a difference of 4.5%. 

Since 2008, primary and specialty-care physicians have either seen their first-year guaranteed compensation increase or stay the same, the survey from Englewood, CO-based MGMA found.

A physician's first-year compensation also depends upon geography. Median first-year compensation was the same for primary care physicians across the Eastern, Midwest, and Southern geographic sections at $170,000 per year.

Specialty care physicians' median first-year compensation varied more by geographic section. In the Southern and Western sections, first-year compensation was highest at $275,000 and $270,000, respectively. The Midwest and Eastern regions held the lowest median first-year compensation for specialists at $250,000 and $220,000, respectively, the survey found.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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