Home Poll A look at hospitalist compensation

A look at hospitalist compensation

March 2013

Published in the March 2013 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

For years, experts have warned hospitalists that less of their pay will come from salary with the rise of a new pay-for-performance environment. While pay for performance has become entrenched in American medicine, it has yet to make a significant dent in hospitalist pay. Here’s a look at data from the 2012 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey on how hospitalists are paid “and what they would like to see changed.

Straight salary?
Our data found that just over half of hospitalists (56.3%) are paid a combination of salary and productivity incentives. That leaves 37.8% who report being paid salary only, and 6% being paid solely on productivity.

In the five years that Today’s Hospitalist has conducted its surveys, there has been little change in how hospitalists are paid. In 2008, for example, 34% of hospitalists said they were paid straight salary, compared to 38% in 2012. Those numbers fluctuate by a few percentage points from year to year, however, so the difference may not be significant.

Size, practice type count
There are differences in how hospitalists are paid by specialty and practice type. Pediatric hospitalists, for example, are much more likely to be paid a straight salary (57.1%) than adult hospitalists (35.2%), while hospitalists who work for local private groups are more likely to earn 100% productivity. And larger practices are more likely to combine salary and incentives: 72% of groups with 10 to 15 hospitalists, for example, use a mixed compensation model, compared to only 47% of groups with one to four hospitalists.

How would you like to be paid?
When we asked hospitalists what kinds of changes they would like to see in how they’re paid, just under half (39.8%) said they like their current pay structure and don’t want any changes. However, the next biggest group (31.1%) said they would like more opportunities for bonus/incentive pay. Only 19% of hospitalists said they wanted more of their pay to come in the form of salary. And pediatric hospitalists were more likely to want opportunities for bonus/incentive pay than adult hospitalists (41.4% vs. 29.4%).