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Despite Economic Woes, Physician Compensation Increases
Date:1/15/2009

DETROIT, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc. (SullivanCotter) has published its 16th 2008 Physician Compensation and Productivity Survey Report, the industry standard. Notable findings this year include an average salary increase of 4.4% for specialists and 4.0% for primary care physicians. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the survey participants provided salary increases to their employed physicians in 2008, which is comparable to last year, when 73% reported providing a salary increase. The results also point to increased use of incentive plans, compensation tied to quality measures, and a decrease in the rates paid per work Relative Value Units (wRVUs). A total of 257 healthcare organizations nationwide participated in the survey, which includes compensation data for over 41,000 physicians in over 150 specialties.

According to Kim Mobley, a principal at SullivanCotter and the survey director, "While the majority of organizations provided salary increases to physicians, some organizations also decreased compensation for at least some of their physicians. In fact, 10% percent of survey participants decreased cash compensation levels in 2008." This is less than the 18% of organizations reporting decreases in cash compensation in 2007. "When organizations decrease physician compensation, most often it is linked to individual productivity and/or labor market benchmark norms," she adds.

The current physician recruitment environment is highly competitive and survey results indicated an increase in hiring bonuses. This year, 57% of the participants used hiring bonuses, compared to only 49% last year. Interestingly, the amounts paid have remained relatively stable, with average hiring bonuses of $10,000 for primary care physicians and $17,500 for specialists.

According to the survey, 70% of organizations use incentive compensation for their physicians; up from 60%
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SOURCE Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc.
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