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How happy are hospitalists with what they make?

July 2015
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Published in the July 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

HOW SATISFIED ARE HOSPITALISTS with their compensation? According to the 2014 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, more than half of hospitalists say they are unhappy with their pay for reasons that range from working too many hours to taking on too many new “and uncompensated “responsibilities. Here’s a look at what full-time adult hospitalists have to say about their compensation and pay increases.

Dissatisfaction in the ranks
More than half of hospitalists (57%) say they’re not happy with their compensation. This number is fairly similar for adult and pediatric hospitalists, but there are some differences by physicians’ type of practice.

Hospitalists working for universities/medical schools and national hospitalist management companies, for example, tend to be unhappier than their colleagues, with 63% of hospitalists in both settings saying they’re not satisfied with their pay. Hospitalists working for local hospitalist groups seem to be the most satisfied with their compensation; 17.8% only 43% of those physicians say they’re dissatisfied.

Discontent with compensation stems from several sources. More than one-third of hospitalists complain that they’re given extra duties without a commensurate pay raise. A smaller percentage reports that their compensation hasn’t risen with the cost of living (26%), while 19% complain that they work too many hours for too little pay.

Pay raises
Another dissatisfier may be related to the way that hospitalists receive raises. When we asked how pay hikes take place in their group, the largest percentage (36%) identified contract negotiations. But when we asked how hospitalists would like to see raises determined, that strategy came in dead last.

A whopping 69% of hospitalists say they would prefer to have increases in pay based on merit or performance. Workload (59%) and experience (57%) were the next most popular factors that hospitalists said should be used when determining pay increases.

Bleak outlook
Perhaps most disturbing is the number of hospitalists who say they don’t foresee ever getting a raise. More than one-fifth (21%) don’t anticipate ever getting a raise. That percentage was lower among hospitalists in universities/medical centers (15%) and local hospitalist groups (11%), but higher among hospitalists working at national hospitalist management companies (27%) and for hospitals/hospital corporations (24%).

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