Hospitalists Compensation Up

Pediatric hospitalists reported a larger increase in earnings than hospitalists in adult medicine, according to a study by the Medical Group Management Association.

The median income for adult medicine hospitalists increased from $215,000 in 2009 to $220,619 in 2010, a difference of less than 3%. However, pediatric hospitalists, although paid less, reported an increase of 7.2% for a median income of $171,617 in 2010.

“I think that’s a reflection of the market and demand for hospitalists, and the value that hospitals and other health care payors see that hospitalists bring,” William “Tex” Landis, MD, FHM, medical director of Wellspan Hospitalists in York, Pa., and chair of SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee, said in a statement.

According to Jeffrey Milburn with MGMA, hospitalist medicine is a fast-growing specialty with many employed directly by hospitals. And since compensation for this field is still evolving, hospitalists can potentially negotiate from a “straight base salary to base salary-plus-incentive program based on production and quality metrics.”

Another survey by recruitment firm Locum Leaders and Today’s Hospitalist magazine revealed that of the 10% of hospitalists working as locum tenens, 82% are taking that work on in addition to full-time employment. Furthermore, 77% of hospitalists who work as locums said that compensation was the biggest motivator for locum work.

Robert Harrington, MD, chief medical officer at Locum Leaders attributed this trend to hospital shifts the usually result in “a large population of doctors who have a lot of time off.”