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November 2016

Published in the November 2016 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

I’M HAPPY TO REPORT that our 2016 survey data are in, and the news about physician pay is good. The bottom line is that hospitalists are reporting that their compensation is up 7% from last year’s survey, with full-time hospitalists who treat adults earning an average of just over $280,000.

Those numbers are exciting, but the news gets even better once you start to dig through the data. Our survey, for example, found that more than one-third of hospitalists are making more than $300,000 a year. Even more interesting, 8% of full-time adult hospitalists report earning more than $400,000.

In our cover story, we take a look at how hospitalists are pulling in those big paychecks. Some hospitalists are boosting their incomes the old-fashioned way: by working more. In many parts of the country, the shortage of hospitalists is a big problem, and physicians willing to take on extra shifts can substantially augment their incomes.

But some hospitalists are earning more because many hospitals now pay stipends and bonuses for jobs that the specialty used to perform for free. Some groups are giving physicians big bonuses for their participation in meetings, quality initiatives and citizenship.

Why are hospitals and health systems finally paying hospitalists for nonclinical duties? In some cases, they realize that hospitalists play a critical role in everything from meeting performance-based care standards to fighting bad decisions by insurance companies. They’re not only recognizing the roles that hospitalists can play outside of patient care, but paying them.

With the average age of hospitalists on the rise—49 years in this survey—the trend to pay them for nonclinical activities is great news. As more hospitalists enter their late 40s, the specialty needs to give physicians a way to earn more without necessarily putting in more hours.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher

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