MGMA survey report: First-year guaranteed compensation for primary care physicians on the rise

Englewood, Colo. April 30, 2013 — As concerns mount over the physician workforce shortage, medical practices feel the pressure to recruit physicians and offer competitive benefits. According to the MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data, primary care physicians reported $180,000 in median first-year guaranteed compensation, up from $175,000 in 2011.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates, the United States faces a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians by 2020 — a number that will grow to more than 130,000 by 2025. In an effort to recruit physicians, practices may be offering benefits such as first-year, post-residency or post-fellowship signing bonuses, paid relocation expenses, loan forgiveness, paid vacations, and continuing medical education.

“A number of factors influence the environment for recruiting physicians, and it continues to be highly competitive,” said Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group. “With an influx of new patients anticipated in 2014, practices are seeking additional providers to serve patients. They are increasingly offering signing bonuses, relocation expenses, even additional vacation time, to attract new physicians and prepare to best serve their communities in the future.”

The report also details the movement of physicians across regions. Across all regions, physicians reported that they were most likely to relocate within their region. Physicians in the Midwest (including states Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) reported the most relocations away from the region. Physicians reported the least amount of placements to the West (including states Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming).

The MGMA Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data contains data on 5,225 providers in 629 medical organizations. New to the report this year are expanded geographic trending data and data regarding physician movement, broken out by placement and Department of Health and Human Services geographic area relocation information. The information is available on DataDive, an easy-to-use Web-based format that allows users to access and drill down data for analysis as well as a printed report. The Association also developed the Physician Compensation Decision Pathways Tool, which helps practices in creating physician compensation plans.

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.

Contact Liz Boten, media relations representative, at to request data or information about the survey. Click here to purchase a copy of the report.


About MGMA
MGMA is the premier association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. In 2011, members of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and its standard-setting division, the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), voted to merge to form a new association. Since 1926, the Association has delivered networking, professional education and resources, political advocacy and certification for medical practice professionals. The Association represents 22,500 members who lead 13,200 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, helping medical practices provide efficient, safe, patient-focused and affordable care. MGMA is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., and maintains a government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Please visit

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