ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Hospitalist Compensation Continues Upward Trend


GRAPEVINE, Texas—Community hospitalist compensation rose slightly last year to its highest level, according to preliminary SHM/MGMA survey data revealed at HM11. A national median wasn’t available, but SHM cofounder John Nelson, MD, MHM, says survey figures for compensation, including bonuses, rose roughly 3% over the prior year. Formal survey results are to be released in June.

According to Dr. Nelson, a nonacademic hospitalist in the Northeast seeing only adult patients earns roughly $212,000 per year. In the West, the number ticks up slightly to $213,000. Salaries rose at a higher rate in the Midwest (to $224,000) and the Southeast (to $246,000).

The macro numbers are what they are. (Compensation) is not going to get less any time soon.

— Robert Bessler, MD, president and CEO, Sound Inpatient Physicians

Sound Inpatient Physicians president and CEO Robert Bessler, MD, says survey data for compensation can be helpful but that individual HM groups need to be acutely aware of what hospitalists earn in their “micro-market” more than in their corner of the country. “The macro numbers are what they are,” he adds. “It’s not going to get less any time soon.”

Dr. Nelson also says that the average financial subsidy for HM groups has risen to $132,000 per FTE hospitalist, a marked jump from the roughly $100,000 level SHM reported in its past two surveys. Some 19% of hospitalist practices reported no support from their hospitals, a point that intrigues new SHM President Joseph Li, MD, SFHM, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the hospital medicine division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Dr. Li wonders how such a large percentage of practices operate independent of financial support, given that the vast majority of programs that do rely on that funding seem to be needing more of it. In short, he says: “Are we looking at two business models or two care models?”

Richard Quinn is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.

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