Academic hospitalists earn less than their nonacademic counterparts, but they appear to earn more per work RVU, according to new data from SHM and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).
Compensation and productivity information, dubbed the 2011 Academic Practice Compensation and Production Module, is currently available via MGMA's website, but a more detailed review of academic hospitalists will be included in the annual State of Hospital Medicine report this summer.
The recently released data show the national median salary for an academic hospitalist in internal medicine is $173,113. National median productivity for all academic faculty, standardized to 100% billable clinical activity, is 3,365 wRVUs.
By comparison, median compensation for community hospitalists is $215,000 annually, according to the State of Hospital Medicine: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data. The 2010 report also pegged the median number of work RVUs at 4,107 per hospitalist per year.
"It doesn't surprise me salaries are lower," says Grace Huang, MD, staff hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. "I knew that choosing the life of an academic hospitalist."
In fact, Dr. Huang notes, capturing productivity for academicians is particularly tricky as activities like mentorship are difficult to quantify. She also cautions against reading too much into statistics, as "I'm a measurement person, so you can always make the data look different."
"When I look at my job as an academic hospitalist, clinical care is just part of it," adds Dr. Huang, who is among the group of hospitalists helping SHM scrub the data to be released this summer. "We have very different aspects of the job that are not easily represented in RVUs."