The effects of the nationwide physician shortage and the swelling ranks of the insured continue to reverberate throughout the healthcare industry, as seen in a new report documenting the rising demand for physicians nationwide.
So reports physician search firm Merritt Hawkins in its newly released "Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives." (Like Staff Care, Merritt Hawkins is a company of AMN Healthcare.)
Tracking its more than 3,300 physician and advanced practitioner assignments from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, Merritt Hawkins concluded that "salaries for both primary care and specialist physicians spiked in the last 12 months ... reflecting a rising demand for physicians and a growing physician shortage."
View an Infographic Overview of Merritt Hawkins' 2016 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives here
"The compensation information listed here reflects base salaries, as opposed to total annual compensation figures that might include bonuses or benefits," reports Kathryn Dill in an analysis of the report for Forbes. "As such, the list provides a picture of the incentives offered to medical professionals during the recruiting process."
"Of the most recruited specialties this year, invasive cardiologists continue to command the heftiest average base salary," Dill writes. "These professionals can expect offers of $545,000 while being recruited, with some of the top earners bringing in as much as $700,000 in base salary alone. Orthopedic surgeons, often at the top of lists like this one, also fared well, commanding average base salaries of $521,000, with top-tier earners garnering annual paychecks of as much as $800,000."
“What makes this year unique that we’ve seen a universal increase across the board,” Travis Singleton, Merritt Hawkins Senior Vice President, told Dill. “That’s a huge shift; it shows demand at levels that arguably we’ve never seen.”
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Spiking Physician Demand Reflects Growing Physician Shortage — Especially Psychiatry
The report lists the top five most in-demand physician specialties as family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, hospitalist, and obstetrics-gynecology, marking the first time that mental health ranked so prominently. The conclusion matches data recently collected by Staff Care concluding that a mental health physician shortage was not only underway, but set to escalate. (Read Psychiatry: “The Silent Shortage” here.)
“The supply of psychiatrists, already constrained, is soon going to diminish significantly,” a summary of the Merritt Hawkins report states. “There currently are some 28,500 psychiatrists in active patient care in the U.S., 60% of whom are 55 years old or older, with many set to retire.”
"The federal government has designated 3,968 whole or partial counties as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) for mental health, and close to half the counties in the U.S. have no mental health provider," the report adds. "In Texas, 185 of 254 counties (73%) have no general psychiatrist, according to Merritt Hawkins data."
"The lack of emphasis given to the psychiatry shortage and behavioral health in general is partially rooted in pervasive stigmas about mental illness in the United States," according to the “Silent Shortage” white paper.
"While the symptoms of those with heart, lung, orthopedic or other physiological problems typically are readily apparent, the symptoms of those with psychological problems often are not," the report continues. "For these reasons, Staff Care refers to the dearth of mental health professionals as the 'silent shortage.'"
Read Psychiatry: “The Silent Shortage” here
Interested in learning how Staff Care's locum tenens staffing services can help you cope with this rising demand for physicians? Fill out a staffing request form here, or contact us directly here.
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