JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation


You can watch the recording of JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation on our Facebook page. (24 mins.)

If you are considering a job change or already interviewing, we can help you understand your compensation options.

When to Ask About Compensation

It’s important to know when to talk about compensation and what to ask. Wait until after a successful site visit to start talking about compensation. Ask what the employment model is. That will have a significant impact on taxes and benefits.

Guaranteed Salary

Then ask what the initial guaranteed salary is. Generally, the initial term is 1-3 years. In some cases, the term is negotiable, but be careful when negotiating. Asking for a shorter term may give the employer the impression that you are a job hopper.

Compensation Formula

After negotiating your guaranteed salary, ask about the formula used for determining compensation. This is usually productivity based. Meaning, you are going to earn to the level that you produce. Many factors come into play when employers calculate compensation. Percentage of collections or using an RVU model are common options. MGMA is the most common survey employers use to determine their compensation package. More saturated markets, like metropolitan areas, may pay less than rural areas. You can use our Salary Calculator to get a good idea of what to expect.


There are some questions you should ask if your compensation or bonuses are RVU based. Your RVU threshold is specific to your base salary and should follow MGMA guidelines. Employers can interpret MGMA information in different ways. They may look at nation numbers or regional numbers, so ask about it. You should also ask what your dollar per RVU will be if you exceed the threshold.


Now that you have discussed your main compensation, it’s time to inquire about bonuses. Bonuses may or may not be available during the initial term of your contract. They are either productivity or quality based. Like your compensation, the basis of your bonus depends on many factors. Payer mix, overhead expenses, the percentage of self-payed patients, and RVU are examples.

Quality Bonuses

Quality bonuses are becoming more common. Quality of care is important to patients, physicians, and administration. Ask how you earn the quality bonus. Is it tied to patient satisfaction, throughput time, or paperwork completion? You should also ask what percentage of employees are earning the quality bonus. This will help you understand if it is attainable. The last question to ask about bonuses is, are they paid out quarterly or once a year?

Long-Term Earning Potential

Finally, ask about the level of productivity you’ll need to have to maintain your income. Another way of asking this question is asking about your long-term earning potential. You can also ask what you should expect once you’re established and how long it takes to get established.


Added to your compensation and bonuses, you might get offered perks. Don’t expect perks, but if you are considering several options, they are worth exploring. There might be a signing bonus in your offer. If you received an offer and it doesn’t include a signing bonus, you could ask. You should never ask about a signing bonus before receiving an offer. Your offer might include a commencement bonus instead of a signing bonus. You get a commencement bonus on the day you start your employment instead of the day you sign. Retention bonuses are becoming more common. A smaller signing bonus is paired with a retention bonus. They are rewarded for a re-commitment after your initial contract ends.

Relocation stipends are also becoming more common. The amount might be negotiable, and the payouts can vary. Requirements for receiving the stipend can be restrictive. Make sure you understand what it takes to receive the stipend before making arrangements.  Residents and fellows can get education stipends usually one or two years in advance of their employment. Another useful perk for younger physicians is student loan repayment. This perk can come from the employer or from an outside source. If coming from an outside source, you may have to apply. Check the amount of reimbursement you qualify for, what the term is, and what the forgiveness period is.


Depending on your employment model you may or may not be eligible for benefits. Benefits can include malpractice coverage, paid time off (PTO), retirement, health insurance, a car allowance, or housing stipend. If offered malpractice insurance, the carrier and policy details will already be established. You should still take time to understand your coverage, what happens if a suit is filed, and what happens when you leave. PTO may or may not be negotiable and is generally 3-4 weeks. You’ll want to ask if that includes sick days, vacation, and CME days. Retirement benefits come in three main forms, a pension, 401k, or 403b. These depend on the employer, whether they are government, private, or non-profit. A car allowance might be available if you’re traveling to many facilities. Housing stipends are rare. They usually depend on housing limitations or distance from facility requirements.

Receiving an Offer

You will either get a letter of intent or a contract. A letter of intent is an outline of the offer. If you are unsure of any part of your contract you should contact an attorney. Take note, not all attorneys are familiar with physician employment agreements. Choose an attorney that is knowledgeable and can commit to a turnaround time that suits your needs. It is also beneficial to meet with an accountant to understand your tax burden and options. Once you sign a contract get a copy for your records.

If you want more help deciphering physician compensation, you can connect with Christen Wrensen on LinkedIn.


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JPS Recruiters Live: Optimizing for Your Children’s Education

You can watch the recording of JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation on our Facebook page. (24 mins.)

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JPS Recruiters Live: The Benefits of Physicians Going Country

You can watch the recording of JPS Recruiters Live: The Benefits of Physicians Going Country on our Facebook page. (11 mins.)

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Relocation Tips under the New Tax Law


In case you hadn’t heard, the new tax law eliminates the tax deduction for moving expenses and other job costs such as license and regulatory fees, required medical tests, and unreimbursed continuing education.  The following relocation tips will help make sure you have a great moving experience under the new tax law.

If your next job (or your first job) involves relocation, you need to know these seven relocation tips for optimizing your moving experience.

  1. Involve your spouse early. Understand their “must haves,” from the smallest details of the move to big picture issues like their earning power in the new location. Two heads are better than one; they will think of things you have not.
  2. Compare the cost of living. With your short list of locations in hand, assess the long-term economic impact of living in those communities. How far will your dollars stretch? Websites such as Sperling’s Best Places to Live can guide you.
  3. Research your moving costs. There could be a wide cost variance, based on distance and the volume of items you’ll move. Get a no-obligation quote from a moving company to help you quantify this perk and substantiate the amount you seek in your relocation package. Even if the hospital simply includes a flat moving allowance in your signing bonus, you want to be sure your costs are covered.
  4. Get the reimbursement policy in writing. It should include a detailed list of what will or will not be reimbursed. Be sure you understand their definition of “reasonable” expenses – because that’s what counts when the check is cut.
  5. Use an approved relocation service. If the hospital has a direct contract with a relocation service, working with them will save you time and help you avoid out-of-pocket expense when cash is tight. Alternatively, the hospital may provide a list of approved movers that you must use to be reimbursed.
  6. Keep every receipt. Your itemized credit card bill probably doesn’t provide enough documentation for reimbursement. The original, detailed invoice and receipts proving payment may need to be submitted.
  7. Reserve enough cash to pay your taxes. To avoid an expensive surprise at tax time, ask a tax adviser how relocation reimbursement and other incentives will be taxed in 2018. Then, be prepared to pay Uncle Sam what you owe in 2019.

Which relocation expenses are typically reimbursed for physicians?

Items that may typically be approved for reimbursement:

  • Truck or trailer rental
  • Professional movers
  • Amount paid for gas and oil for physician’s vehicle OR the standard mileage rate
  • Parking fees and tolls
  • Packing materials…boxes, tape, etc.
  • Lodging expenses (reasonable)
  • Airline tickets for physician and family members for one-way travel to new location
  • Shipment of one personal vehicle
  • Storage fees (30 days)

Items that are typically not reimbursable:

  • Pre-move house hunting expenses
  • Expenses of buying or selling a home
  • Expenses of entering into or breaking a lease
  • Temporary living expenses
  • Meals

Note: Starting in 2018, moving expenses are not tax-deductible.  Consult a tax advisor about how reimbursed expenses may be taxed.

With this relocation guide, you can put your moving expenses and cost of living differences into context with your overall compensation package.  For additional insight, see how your compensation compares across the country by visiting the Jackson Physician Search Salary Calculator and Resource Center.



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Newest Physician Salary Calculator Customizes Results, Saves Time


A physician compensation resource center, featuring an interactive salary calculator, is the newest resource offered by Jackson Physician Search to help doctors save time as they evaluate how to reach their earning potential. No registration or subscription is required to view instant results.

The mobile-friendly, interactive calculator compiles data from five industry sources, plus propriety recruitment data, to enable physicians in 24 specialties to evaluate multiple variables that influence their potential compensation package.

According to Tony Stajduhar, president of Jackson Physician Search, this new resource is an efficient tool physicians can use to evaluate practice opportunities. “Let’s face it: time and money both matter to physicians. So when it comes to exploring a new job, our resource center can save them time as they consider how multiple variables influence their potential compensation package,” he said.

“Even with data in-hand, we also recommend that physicians talk with industry insiders, experts and advisors to understand what is realistic in a given situation,” Stajduhar added. “Experienced physician recruiters can decode some of the reasons for variances and help a physician negotiate a fair, market-driven package,” Stajduhar noted.

Using the new salary calculator, customizable fields encompass the components that are typically included in a compensation package. The results instantly reveal a market-based scenario that breaks out base salary, benefits, hiring incentives and bonuses. The calculator is unique in its design for use with an offer in hand, or if the physician wants to compare how far their compensation would stretch in a different state or type of community.

Physicians considering a new practice opportunity can:

  • Easily access customized physician compensation data, drawn from multiple sources
  • Drill down by specialty, state and type of location
  • Get instant results and/or request an optional written report via email.

They can adjust for benefits, hiring incentives, and bonuses:

  • Benefits
  • Sign-on Bonus
  • Residency stipend
  • Relocation assistance
  • Student loan repayment
  • Future bonuses for productivity and quality

Jackson Physician Search compiles data from salary surveys published by industry leaders including Health eCareers and Doximity, which draws from self-reported compensation surveys of more than 36,000 physicians. They also incorporate proprietary data, including the firm’s physician placement and search data. Actual compensation will vary depending on additional variables such as skills and qualifications in each specialty, and supply and demand in a particular location. The information does not constitute specific advice for any candidate nor does it guarantee compensation from any organization.


In addition to the salary calculator, the new and improved Physician Salary Calculator and Resource Center also features relevant physician compensation articles, videos, and other resources physicians can use.


Jackson Physician Search specializes in permanent recruitment of physicians and advanced practice providers to hospitals and health systems across the United States. The company is recognized for its track record of results built on their clients’ trust in the skills of their team and the transparency of their process. Jackson Physician Search attracts and retains the most talented and motivated recruitment professionals in the industry. The firm has been recognized by Modern Healthcare and Fortune as one of the Best Places to Work.


Visit and Jackson Physician Search on LinkedIn. Follow @JacksonPhysicianSearch on Facebook and @Jackson_Search on Twitter.


Media Contact for More Information:

Lori Schutte: 770.643.5533

Mary Barber: 314.494.6952

Personalized Compensation Reports with New Physician Salary Calculator


According to a recent MMS Survey, 69% of physicians say the most important factors when making a decision about a new job opportunity are location and, not surprisingly, compensation. After you have prioritized your need for a satisfying medical practice, working with colleagues you respect and living in a community you and your family love, the remaining question is: Will I be fairly compensated?

Seeking an answer can be overwhelming. Just google “physician salary” and you get 42.7 million results.

Whether you are a new physician emerging from training, or you are considering a change after years in practice, you likely want to know what the compensation for your specialty looks like for your area and across various locations nationwide.

It’s a good idea to consult a number of credible sources to understand how multiple variables influence your potential compensation package. Data sources vary from comprehensive reports published (and offered for sale) by healthcare industry associations to free salary calculators that cover a wide cross-section of jobs and professions, including the practice of medicine. Industry insiders, experts and advisors, including experienced physician recruiters, are also valuable resources.

To further contribute to the resources available to physicians, and to provide physicians with a more useful and accessible tool for physician salary data and trends, we have created an enhanced Physician Salary Calculator and Resource Center featuring an interactive calculator that enables you to:

  • Easily access customized physician compensation data
  • Drill down by specialty, state and type of location
  • Display instant results with option to have your custom report emailed to yourself

Customizable calculator fields reflect the components that are typically included in a compensation package, including:

  • Benefits
  • Sign-on Bonus
  • Residency stipend
  • Relocation assistance
  • Student loan repayment
  • Future bonuses for productivity and quality

Your results will instantly show a competitive market-based scenario that breaks out base salary, benefits, hiring incentives and bonuses.

The calculator is unique in its design for use with an offer in hand, or if you are considering relocation and want to see how far your current compensation would stretch in a different state or type of community.

Data has been compiled from salary surveys published by industry leaders including HealtheCareers and Doximity, which draws from self-reported compensation surveys of more than 36,000 physicians.

We also have incorporated proprietary data from our own physician placement and search data. Of course, actual compensation will vary depending on additional variables such as skills and qualifications in your specialty, and supply and demand in your chosen location. The information does not constitute specific advice for any candidate nor does it guarantee compensation from any organization.

We invite you to explore the enhanced Physician Salary Calculator and Resource Center yourself.

For even more personalized consultation, we recommend speaking with one of our knowledgable recruiters.

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Understanding Physician Compensation Models and Methods


Today’s physician compensation models are like the healthcare industry: highly dynamic and complicated. Many doctors find it challenging to assess how the compensation package of their first job will align with their personal and professional priorities.

Let’s review some of the approaches involved in compensation packages.

Value-based Measures.

As the healthcare industry shifts toward value-based outcomes, physician compensation is gravitating toward similar value-based measures. Compensation is no longer driven exclusively by patient volume and the number of procedures performed. It is a product of many factors including cost of care, patient experience, quality of care, coordination of care, and productivity.  Typically, productivity remains the largest single element impacting physician compensation. But, it is important to recognize value-based factors, which now comprise up to 20% of total compensation.


Introduced in the early 1990’s, Relative Value Units (RVUs) have become more significant in determining everything from physician compensation to medical practice buyouts and consolidations. In general terms, the physician’s component of the RVU accounts for: time; technical skill and effort; mental effort and judgment; and stress to provide a service. You can read more about RVUs here.

Practices are using work RVUs and a practice-specific conversion factor to determine compensation. Another typical approach is predicated on using a base salary plus a bonus calculation based on the number of RVUs generated.


As if compensation packages weren’t complicated enough, organizations are utilizing an approach referred to as stacking. This is an arrangement where physicians are performing multiple roles and being compensated individually for each. For example, a hospitalist has a full-time schedule where they are in the facility every other week. During the off-weeks, the hospitalist works shifts in the critical care unit, and also puts in 10 hours a week as the medical director of the hospitalist program.  By the time all of those responsibilities are accounted for, the hospitalist’s total compensation package is greater but more complex.

More Compensation Components.

Compensation begins with but doesn’t end with a base salary.  Most employers combine an agreed upon salary with variable components that affect total compensation. You need to determine – and be comfortable with – how much of your pay will be based on your individual performance, organizational performance and other factors like patient satisfaction. It is fair to ask how those variables have affected compensation in recent years – and why.

Potential employers routinely offer first-year incentives, such as signing bonuses, student loan repayments, and reimbursement for relocation, licensing and board certification. Looking further ahead, there may be opportunities to earn more by taking on supervision of advanced practitioners, precepting medical students, or serving as a medical director. Depending on your tolerance for risk, negotiating ownership shares is another way to potentially benefit financially from the future growth and performance of a practice.

How Location Affects Physician Compensation.

Geographic region and market size significantly influence compensation and how far your income will stretch. So, it is important to adjust for the cost of living in dollars and assess the location with your lifestyle expectations in mind.

Work schedules, after-hours activities, vacation coverage, and weekend shifts influence work/life balance. It’s important to know what a future employer expects, and how they assist physicians in managing stress, avoiding burnout and cultivating career satisfaction.

With all of the complicating factors contributing to compensation, physicians have to do their homework to determine which opportunity offers a fair package, a satisfying work environment, strong cultural fit with the organization and a happy life outside of work.

Today’s physician compensation models are like the healthcare industry: highly dynamic and increasingly complicated.  Many doctors find it challenging to assess how the compensation package of their first job will align with their personal and professional priorities.  As a resource for physicians, Jackson Physician Search has introduced a newly updated physician compensation resource center includes an interactive calculator that enables you to:

  • Easily access customized physician compensation data
  • Drill down by specialty, state, and type of location
  • Get instant results and have your report emailed to you

If you have any further questions about how physician compensation works, please connect with our recruiters for information and guidance.

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You can watch the recording of JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation on our Facebook page. (24 mins.)

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Resident’s Job Prep Guide: Countdown to Landing the Right One


Resident’s Job Preparation Guide: Countdown to Landing the Right One

You’ve been working hard through medical school and residency. The culmination of your lifelong dream and years of hard work is fast approaching – with yet another challenge: finding your first job as a practicing physician and laying the foundation for a successful career.

If your first job will start next summer, then the clock is already ticking on your job search. We have compiled a list of the critical things you should be doing in the coming months to make sure you aren’t forced to “settle” when it comes to your first job.

Start with Research. The following steps should be accomplished before the Fall of 2017, with much of it being able to be accomplished with over the course of a few focused weekends.

  • Create a Game Plan –With your family or significant other, decide what the personal and professional “must haves” are in your first position. Are there locations that will be ruled out right off the bat? Are you looking to start in a large organization, or would you prefer a smaller practice? What are your financial needs? How much flexibility do you have in any of the above decisions? Do you have “nice to haves” that are not deal-breakers? Document your thoughts and prioritize what is important to you and your loved ones. Clear criteria and a rational decision-making process will help you identify the right opportunity.
  • Talk to Colleagues and Mentors – The best way to gather information about finding your first job is by speaking with people who have been through it. The more information you have, the better you will be able to discern what makes sense in your situation.
  • Keep an Open Mind about Location – The most obvious place may not end up being the perfect place for you, your family or your practice. Stay true to the criteria in your game plan, but think outside the box. The location that may not seem to be the most apparent choice, may actually check most of those boxes.
  • Consider Cost of Living – Do you have a firm idea of what you want to earn? Be sure that you are also putting the cost of living into that equation. Big numbers can grab your attention, but how far will it stretch when housing, taxes and other budget busters are factored in?
  • Talk to Recruiters – Professional recruiters, such as Jackson Physician Search can be invaluable in sharing their experience and knowledge to help you identify opportunities. They can provide insights into various practice and compensation models, as well as incentive trends. Best of all, they have contacts nationwide to keep you informed of the latest developments in your prime target locations.

Acing the Interview Process (Start in September). Now that you have done all of the legwork and created a game plan, it is time to start lining up interviews. This process should be started no later than September or October because of the length of time it takes to get everything on the schedule, especially with the holiday’s right around the corner. There are some key things to keep in mind before scheduling your first interview.

  • References and Letters of Recommendation – One of the biggest mistakes new physician’s make when preparing for the interview process is to wait until the last minute to determine who is going to be a reference or provide a letter of recommendation. If you truly want quality people to provide you with documentation espousing your virtues, then it will take some time.
  • Prepare Your Resume – As a new physician, you are still in resume territory versus putting together a Curriculum Vitae (CV) which stands for life’s work. By the time you are applying for that department head position, you will have enough life’s work to put into an extensive CV, for now, a resume will suffice in most cases. Make sure you have someone dutifully proofread your resume several times. Nothing puts your resume into the circular file faster than spelling and grammar mishaps.

The Home Stretch (Start in January). As the calendar flips to 2018 and the holiday rush subsides, you should be in a position where you are fielding offers and determining what opportunities make the most sense for you.

  • Examine offer letters and preliminary contracts carefully – The excitement of receiving an offer letter from your first choice opportunity is no reason to accept it sight unseen. You are in a competitive environment and should treat your skills and education as valuable assets. Be aware that an offer will most likely have an expiration within about two weeks. That is standard in the industry. It keeps the process on track and is fair to both the organization and the candidate. Preliminary contracts are negotiable, and if you plan to have a lawyer review it, make those arrangements in advance and focus only on the variables that are up for negotiation. You don’t want to become caught in “analysis paralysis.”This stage of the process is another one that is much easier when you are working with a recruiter. Given that they already know the organization and community, they can help you better understand the components of the offer, help in the negotiation process and provide perspective on how well the opportunity fits your interests and your family’s needs

Licensing and Credentials. Once you have accepted your first job, the last thing you want to encounter is a delay in licensing and credentialing process. All too often, a physician’s start date slip due to delays in acquiring the proper licensing. Keep in mind that in some states the process can take three months or more. Ask questions to be clear on what is expected of you in this process, watch closely for the paperwork that will arrive, and adhere to deadlines.

Your final year of training will fly by and end with a flurry of activity. Make sure you pace yourself so you can strategically pursue – and carefully choose – your first job as a physician.

Connect with us for help as you launch your career.



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Rev Up Physician Recruiting with the Right Benefits, Incentives and Perks


Whether you are recruiting physicians to a metropolitan area, where they can choose among plenty of practice opportunities, or to an underserved area, it’s important to think both strategically and creatively about what your organization can offer to recruit physicians who will fit.

As you map out your physician recruiting strategy, think of your total package as you might a car:

Base compensation is the basic chassis, engine and wheels. You need to know you have a sound and competitive starting point. Resources abound such as our physician salary calculator, and studies of compensation ranges by region published from MGMA, AMGA, Medscape. 

Benefits also need to be competitive, at minimum. Just as every car has a dashboard, seats and interior, benefits are required, but can vary widely in quality, value and appeal.

Incentives and bonuses are the fuel. Offer the right incentive that drives the candidate toward “yes.” Once they are on board, incentives also help keep physicians aligned with your practice’s goals. Bonuses are the “reward” for getting to the desired destination.

Perks are the accessories. To operate safely or comfortably, you don’t need fancy exteriors, luxury interior finishes or a sophisticated stereo, GPS and entertainment system. But such added features capture the attention of buyers, appealing to them at an emotional level. If you know what is important to the candidate, the perks you offer can make all the difference.

All of the above are levers that can be “pressed” at every stage of your physician’s career cycle, starting with recruitment and extending through your retention strategy. But, be aware: benefits and incentives that were once unique can become expected, and then no longer differentiate your organization. The key is to listen to your physicians and keep an eye on trends to stay ahead of the curve – and your competition.

Competitive Physician Benefits Package

When recruiting, the foundation of a competitive offer is a strong basic benefits package. Physician benefits that have come to be expected (and usually subsidized) include medical and dental insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid time off, qualified retirement, CME/professional dues and malpractice coverage. Basic benefits should be appropriate to the position, uniform and available to everyone who is doing similar work or is at the same level in the organization.

Enhanced benefits have evolved to attract new physicians and keep seasoned physicians in practice longer. The use of EMRs, nurse triage centers and other technologies that support remote work can be positioned as a benefit to support a flexible work schedule, generous paid time off and partially paid sabbaticals.

Incentives and Bonuses

Incentives can be offered to candidates to encourage them to accept your position. They can also be built into your retention plan. Pre-paid incentives should come with the contingency for repayment if the physician doesn’t fulfill their obligation:

  • Stipend while training
  • Student loan repayment
  • Relocation subsidy
  • Payment for signing, commencing, and achieving retention milestone

A bonus is a payment which is backward-looking, when the individual or group achieves pre-determined goals. These are usually based on productivity, quality, patient satisfaction and cost criteria. They should be uncomplicated in design, simple to administer, and reasonable to achieve.


Perks come into play once you have established a competitive compensation and benefits package. Perks serve to creatively engage physicians to enhance their work/life balance, integrate them and their families into the community. Perks can appeal to a special hobby or interest that will help them refresh and refuel to avoid burnout.

For example, concierge services make day-to-day life more livable. They can facilitate the move by assisting physicians and their families with housing, childcare and school enrollment, and by connecting them to resources for hobbies, religious communities and civic activities. Private banking services, low-interest loans or club memberships are also attractive to new physicians.

Helping physicians stay productive and focused on patient care can enhance their satisfaction. Some hospitals and clinics in remote areas offer air transport or driver services so that physicians are using their time productively rather than wasting time in transit.

A growing trend is to recruit a “clinical scribe” from within the local community to enter EMR data during the exam, while the physician focuses on the patient – not their tablet. At a modest cost, this can improve the new physician’s productivity and compliance. Equally important, they can help the physician engage one-to-one with their patients and create a bridge to the community to transition quickly from “newcomer” to “hometown doctor.”

Be Creative, but Stay Out of the Fast Lane

Be careful in how you tailor a package for a particular candidate, and always be mindful of the legal and tax-related implications. Benefits, incentives, bonuses and perks can seem interchangeable, so it’s important to be clear and consistent. Don’t assume the candidate understands the terms in the way you intend.

Follow the four C’s:

  • Competitive base salary
  • Clearly defined and firmly aligned with your organization’s goals
  • Compliant with physician fair market value standards and non-discrimination laws
  • Communicated effectively

Be strategic in how you position your differentiators in your recruitment outreach and in negotiations. Sullivan Cotter Associates, a consulting firm specializing in physician compensation, advises that you create a “total compensation statement.” A simple summary of a physician’s individual benefits and what they cost can be a very powerful communication device, and it can highlight the real value of the benefits that may otherwise be taken for granted.

A Function for Every Part

Just as in a car, each part of your compensation package has a function. Building the right package will depend on your recruiting goals and what will appeal to the type of physician who will fit well in your practice and community. Just like “Mater” in the movie “Cars,” you’ll both want to say: “I knew it! I ‘knowed’ I made a good choice!”

Looking for best practices on how your benefits package can improve your recruitment success? See our Guide to Physician Recruitment or connect with us for more insight.

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Ask How You Will Earn… Before How Much


If you are looking for your first practice opportunity or simply looking for your next practice opportunity, your top considerations are likely to be location and practice setting, both of which influence your compensation.  But, one thing you may not think to consider upfront is how you will earn that compensation.  So, before you ask how much you will earn, you may want to explore and better understand another basic question: “What is the physician compensation model?”

Compensation varies widely and makes it difficult to compare opportunities because it depends on many things, like, whether you become a partner in a small private practice, join a large multi-specialty group or choose hospital employment in a large metropolitan area, small city or rural community. You can see the differences in compensation first hand by using our Physician Salary Calculator.

Those variables aside, to know whether your total monetary compensation, as a physician in your specialty, will be fair and competitive, you first need to align your expectations and needs with what the practice requires and provides.

Physician Practice Work Allocation

In most practices, a physician’s total work hours are allocated as Billable Clinical, Administrative, and Teaching/Research, according to the Medical Group Management Association which produces industry standard benchmarks.

Billable Clinical: This is the time you will spend in direct patient care and consultation, individually or in a team care setting, where a patient bill is generated or a fee-for-service equivalent charge is recorded.

It may be defined as hours per day or sessions per week.

Administrative: Administrative efforts include medical directorships as well as other administrative duties, such as participating in hospital or clinic initiatives or continuing medical education.

For example, family physicians work approximately 50 hours per week, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). “The equivalent of 36 to 40 hours, are devoted to patient visits and activities related to them. The remainder is spent on administrative time and outside activities such as hospital committee work and CME.”

Teaching/Research: If the practice includes an academic component, you will also want to know how much of your “teaching time” involves supervising residents where billable patient care is not provided, such as doing research, lecturing or tutoring.

You may receive compensation for non-billable activities, but you should first understand what they entail, if they are required and then determine if they are activities you would want to invest time in.

After-hours Impact on Physician Compensation

Medicine is a 24/7 profession, so it is important to understand what is expected, and what is paid, after hours. Many innovations have evolved to help physicians address patient needs remotely, including mobile EMRs, nurse-triage services, telemedicine and partnering with hospitalists for after-hours admissions and care for your patients in the hospital.

However, all of those services come at a cost. So, it is important to understand how that cost is shared by the physicians, as well as how these services measurably increase your productivity, quality of care and patient satisfaction – all of which will influence your total earnings in our value-based healthcare economy.

Achieving Balance and Equity

Balancing (and being paid for) clinical and administrative time is arguably the biggest challenge faced by medical practices and physicians today. Administrative work that proves frustrating and time-consuming is the top source of physician burnout.

Before joining a practice, ask probing questions and arrange to shadow physicians and their teams for a week or more, if you can. It will reveal a great deal about how you will actually spend your time. It’s the one thing no one can make more of.

Contact us for more information about compensation trends for the location and practice setting you are interested in.

Pros and Cons of Physician Compensation Models

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Confused by Complicated Compensation Models?


As you complete training and prepare to enter your first medical practice opportunity, questions about compensation will begin to rise to the top of your list of concerns. Compensation models in medicine can be complicated and confusing. Not only are there many variables, but the hiring organization must also follow strict rules regulating the way your compensation package can be built in order to ensure fair market value.

According to the Medical Group Management Association compensation survey, a 50% or more salary-based compensation plan with added incentive payments is the most common plan, and it becomes more common every year. Production-based compensation has been on a downward trend over the last four years, yet is still prevalent as the second most common compensation plan.

Asking the right questions about the factors that influence compensation will enable you to negotiate a package that is fair and in alignment with your professional and lifestyle priorities.

Three Types of Questions

We asked experienced physician recruiters to share the top three questions you should ask. Their recommendations fell into these categories.

Structure: Ask how the model works. Specifically, find out what production, quality and patient satisfaction metrics you must achieve to earn an incentive bonus.

Understand the payor mix, which is important if your compensation will be based on charges, collections or any revenue.

Malpractice insurance is expensive, so explore that topic, too. Employee agreements should state whether or not coverage is provided and who is paying for it.

Incentives: You may have opportunities to benefit from incentives outside your direct compensation. Ask about receiving a stipend while still in training and student loan repayment options. Find out if there are bonuses related to signing, commencing practice or achieving retention milestones.

You may also be compensated with an hourly or daily stipend for taking call or for serving in a medical director capacity.

Transparency: Your prospective employer should be able to explain how their compensation models work and provide a worst- and best-case scenario for your first and subsequent years.

It is “fair game” to ask to review the practice financials. You may also ask how much current physicians are making and how long it took them to ramp up to that level.

To ensure that there are clear expectations on both sides, decisions related to your compensation and benefits should be written into your employment agreement. If practice leadership changes, or should the memory of your negotiations fade over time, you will have supporting documentation of what you were promised.

Resources are Available

“Apples to apples” compensation comparisons are challenging, so consult a recruiter or other trusted resources to better understand all the factors that will influence your total compensation picture.

Check out the 15 questions these Jackson Physician Search recruiters recommend asking. Visit our online physician salary calculator, or visit Doximity’s own Salary Map.


Send us your questions – we’ll ask the experts and poll your peers for answers!

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359k Clinicians Participating in CMS’ Alternative Payment Models This Year: 5 Things to Know


Becker’s Hospital Review– More than 359,000 clinicians will participate in four of CMS’ alternative payment models in 2017, the agency said Wednesday.

CMS said the numbers demonstrate providers’ commitment to a healthcare system that pays for the quality of care delivered to patients. Under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, APMs that require providers to bear more than nominal risk will qualify as “advanced.” Clinicians participating in advanced APMs can earn a lump sum bonus of up to 5 percent on Medicare payments…Read More>>