Back in the "golden days of medicine," the issue of physician salaries was more cut-and-dried than it generally is today. Most physicians were self-employed solo practitioners. Upon completion of their training, they selected a community to live in (generally near where they trained or close to their hometowns) and "hung up a shingle." A physician's salary was strictly a function of how many patients they saw. Those who "caught on" and built a thriving practice earned more than those who, for whatever reason, could not find patients.
Today, the great majority of physicians coming out of training are employed, either by group practices, by hospitals, HMOs or other organizations. Their compensation almost always comes in the form of a salary or income guarantee, usually supplemented with a bonus. Number of patients seen still can affect income, but physician salaries are also a function of other factors, including educational loan forgiveness, forgiveness of income guarantees, benefits, profit-sharing, etc.
You will find information on some of these factors in the "Contracts" section of the Resource Library this site. In this section we provide data regarding average physician salaries as well as some of the other recruiting incentives commonly offered to physicians.
Because so many physicians are presently employees and earn salaries, more organizations are interested in physician salaries by specialty. Today, there are multiple physician salary surveys tracking that income, whereas 10 years ago there were only one or two. You will find some of these surveys on this site, as well as Merritt Hawkins & Associates' Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives, which is used by many organizations nationally as one benchmark for creating competitive physician salaries and recruiting packages.
We hope you find this information of interest and we encourage you to contact us at (800) 756-0003 if you have any questions or comments.