Home From The Editor A blip? Or a trend?

A blip? Or a trend?

November 2019

WHAT’S BEHIND THE NEWS in our cover story that wages for hospitalists appear to be flat or even a little stagnant?

According to the Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, full-time hospitalists treating adults reported a total mean compensation of $285,569. That number represents a 1.6% drop from the previous year’s mean compensation.

As our coverage in this issue explains, while a slight drop in mean compensation isn’t good news, it isn’t exactly the end of the world. Compensation for hospitalists in multiple areas of the country is up, and long-term salary growth for hospitalists is still very strong. When we started surveying hospitalists 12 years ago, for example, mean pay was hovering just under $200,000.

But even if this year’s numbers turn out to be no more than a blip— and that’s a possibility—they raise some interesting questions.

For one, are we starting to reach a tipping point in terms of supply and demand? Almost 20% of medical residents are choosing to work as hospitalists, a number that more than doubled from 2010 to 2018, according to a recent MedPAC report.

If employers don’t have to work as hard to find hospitalists, the thinking goes, they probably don’t have to offer as much money.

That’s particularly true when employers can also turn to advanced practice clinicians to fill gaps in their workforce.

And how will the tightening finances of hospitals affect hospitalist compensation? It’s possible that hospitalist pay will stall—or even dip down further—as hospitals struggle. Is that what this year’s data are showing?

You’ve heard us say before that one year of data does not constitute a trend, so probably the safest answer to these questions is simple: Stay tuned for more information.

Edward Doyle
Editor & Publisher

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