One reason physician compensation has reached its peak is because of the number of physician employment opportunities offered by hospitals throughout the nation.
According to “Becker’s Hospital Review,” the Medicus Firm’s 2011 Physician Compensation Survey found that “in general, compensation was flat from 2009-2010. The average change in compensation from 2009-2010 across 19 physician specialties was negative .14 percent compared to positive 4.9 percent from 2008-2009.
Accenture reported further that “just about 33 percent of physicians will remain independent by 2013.”
“Hospitals may be offering physicians as much compensation as they can afford due to cuts to their own funding,” said Steve Marsh, managing partner and one of the founders and owners of The Medicus Firm.
“The only way to generate more income is to generate more volume. The problem is that most physicians are doing the maximum amount of volume they feel comfortable with without sacrificing quality of care,” said Marsh, “due to hospitals’ limited funds and physicians’ limited volumes, coupled with decreasing reimbursements.”
Physician compensation will stay flat or can potentially decrease slightly, according to Marsh.
“Physicians’ flat compensation levels may also exacerbate the physician shortage by triggering older physicians to retire early or potential medical students to choose other career fields,” Marsh said.
“Opportunities outside of direct patient care, such as pharmaceutical positions and executive roles may become more attractive and create a greater need for primary care physicians.”