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Report: Primary Care Doctors in Greatest Demand
Date:6/24/2009

Most Facilities Use Signing Bonuses to Lure Physicians

IRVING, Texas, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Primary care physicians are in greater demand today than any other type of doctor, according to a new report by national physician search firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates, an AMN Healthcare company.

The firm's 2009 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives tracks over 3,200 physician recruiting assignments Merritt Hawkins conducted from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009. During that period, the company fielded more requests for family physicians than for any other type of doctor, followed by general internists, who also provide primary care. Requests for primary care doctors, defined as family physicians, internists and pediatricians, increased 23 percent over the previous 12-month period examined in the survey.

"Virtually every hospital or large medical group in the United States would be happy to add a family physician or general internist," notes Merritt Hawkins' president Mark Smith. "There simply are not enough primary care doctors to go around."

According to Smith, a shortage of primary care doctors is the result of a burgeoning demand for primary care services combined with a shrinking supply of generalist physicians. Fewer medical students are choosing primary care specialties at a time when the population is both growing and aging, Smith notes. The shortage of primary care physicians will only be exacerbated if access to medical services is expanded through healthcare reform, Smith says.

General surgeons, who often are referred to as the "primary care physicians of surgery," follow internists (and internists working as hospitalists) on Merritt Hawkins' list of most in-demand physicians. General surgery is another specialty that is less favored by medical students today, Smith observes, and many general surgeons are retiring with no doctors to replace
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SOURCE Merritt Hawkins & Associates
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