MGMA survey: Starting salary greatest for specialty care physicians in multispecialty practices

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. May 25 2011—Median first-year guaranteed compensation was greater for specialty-care physicians in multispecialty practices than in single-specialty practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA's) Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data. Specialty physicians earned a median first-year guaranteed salary of $258,677 in multispecialty practices and $240,596 in single-specialty practices. Primary care physicians received a median first-year guaranteed salary of $165,000 in multispecialty practices and $172,400 in single specialty practices – a difference of 4.5 percent. Since 2008, both primary and specialty-care physicians have either seen their first-year guaranteed compensation increase or stay the same.

A physician’s first-year compensation varies based on geographic location. Median first-year compensation was the same for primary care physicians across the Eastern, Midwest, and Southern geographic sections at $170,000 per year. Specialty care physicians’ median first-year compensation varied more by geographic section. In the Southern and Western sections, first-year compensation was highest at $275,000 and $270,000, respectively. The Midwest and Eastern regions held the lowest median first-year compensation for specialists at $250,000 and $220,000, respectively.

In addition to first-year guaranteed compensation, benefits such as signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and amount of paid relocation expenses helped shape physician recruitment. Fifty-six percent of physicians received signing bonuses as part of their employment offers. Twelve percent of physicians received loan forgiveness packages as part of their employment offers, most of which were $50,000 or less. Employers were more likely to offer loan forgiveness packages to primary care physicians than specialty-care physicians. Over half (56 percent) of physicians also accepted paid relocation packages with their employment offers.

“Physician recruitment is based on supply and demand and because there are fewer physicians, recruiting has become more difficult in this environment,” explained Kevin Ruggles, M.D., M.M.M, Sr. Vice President of Medical & Clinical Affairs at Rockford Health System. “Physicians have certainly become savvier in negotiating their employment terms and signing bonuses and paid relocation packages are more common now.”

MGMA’s Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data includes data on 4,295 providers categorized by specialty, as well as starting salary information on 1,986 physicians directly out of residency or fellowship. Additionally, the report includes information on paid vacation, paid CME, signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and relocation expenses.

Note: MGMA surveys depend on voluntary participation and may not be representative of the industry. Readers are urged to review the entire survey report when making conclusions regarding trends or other observations.

Editorial copies of the report are available to qualifying media. Contact Liz Boten, media relations representative, at to request a printed copy of the survey. Click here to purchase a copy of the report.

About MGMA  

MGMA is the premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Since 1926, MGMA has delivered networking, professional education and resources, and political advocacy for medical practice management. Today, MGMA serves 22,500 members who lead 13,600 organizations nationwide in which some 280,000 physicians provide more than 40 percent of the healthcare services delivered in the United States.

MGMA's mission is to continually improve the performance of medical group practice professionals and the organizations they represent. MGMA promotes the group practice model as the optimal framework for healthcare delivery, assisting group practices in providing efficient, safe, patient-focused and affordable care. MGMA is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., and maintains a government affairs office in Washington, D.C.

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