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Primary Care Compensation on the Rise; Family Physicians Up 17%

News  |  By John Commins  
   June 05, 2017

A Merritt Hawkins salary survey suggest that family physicians and other primary care specialists are finally cashing in on more than a decade of high demand.

The law of supply and demand is starting to acknowledge family physicians.

For the 11th straight year, family docs top the list of the most highly recruited physicians in the United States, but they also continue to find themselves on the bottom rung for compensation, according to the Dallas-based search firm Merritt Hawkins.

The recruiter's 2017 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives report also shows, however, that demand for family physicians is exerting upward pressure on starting salaries.

The average starting salary for family physicians is $231,000, according to the 2017 report, up from $198,000 in 2015, an increase of 17%, while the average starting salary for general internists is $257,000, up from $207,000 two years ago.

"Emerging delivery models that reward quality and population health are driving demand for family doctors," Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins, said in remarks accompanying the report.

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"Consumer preference for urgent care centers, retail clinics, community health centers, telehealth and other modes of convenient care is another key factor accelerating the recruitment of family doctors."

Jay Fetter, operations manager for the division of medical education at American Academy of Family Physicians, says health systems and hospitals are moving away from fee-for-service to a value-based model.

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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