Orthopedic surgeons are offered the highest average starting salary among physicians and advanced practice professionals, according to an annual report from AMN Healthcare and its physician search division, Merritt Hawkins.
The 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives indicates that orthopedic surgeons are offered an average of $565,000 to start, exclusive of signing bonuses and other incentives, up from $546,000 the previous year.
Average starting salaries for most other specialties included in the report also were up from last year. Urologists are offered an average of $510,000 to start, up from $497,000 last year, gastroenterologists are offered $474,000, up from $453,000 last year, while radiologists are offered $455,000, up from $401,000 last year.
“Demand for physicians, and the salaries they are offered, have rebounded dramatically from the height of COVID-19,” said Tom Florence, president of physician permanent placement for AMN Healthcare. “Virtually every hospital and large medical group in the country is looking to add physicians.”
Demand for physicians was suppressed during the peak of the pandemic, as many hospitals curtailed elective procedures and many patients refrained from entering a medical facility. A large backlog of patients needing care subsequently developed. This, combined with an aging population and widespread chronic medical conditions, has caused a strong surge in physician demand, according to Florence.
Need for Medical Specialists Rising
The AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins’ report indicates that demand for medical specialists such as gastroenterologists, orthopedic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists is rising, while demand for primary care physicians such as family physicians and internists has declined. The majority of the company’s search engagements (64%) over the prior 12 months were for medical specialists, while only 17% were for primary care physicians. The remaining 19% were for advanced practice professionals such as nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).
“The market has done a complete about-face,” Florence said. “Several years ago, primary care physicians were the priority for most hospitals and medical groups. While many still seek them, the emphasis has shifted to specialists.”
Two factors account for this shift, Florence said. One is an aging population that needs more specialists to care for ailing internal organs, musculoskeletal conditions, and neurological problems. The other is the growing use of NPs and PAs to provide primary care, often in “convenient care” settings such as urgent care centers, retail clinics, and through telemedicine. According to Florence, AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins conducted more search engagements for NPs and PAs last year than for primary care physicians, with NPs being the firm’s number one type of search overall for the second consecutive year.
Academic Medical Centers Adding Physicians
Over one-third (34%) of the company’s search engagements in the previous year were conducted for academic medical centers (AMCs), up from 20% the prior year and up from 11% five years ago.
“The importance of AMCs rose during the pandemic, as they were key centers of specialty care for COVID-19 patients,” Florence said. “They are expanding their footprint both as tertiary care centers and as providers of community-based care.”
A copy of AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins’ 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, may be accessed at https://www.merritthawkins.com/trends-and-insights/article/reports/2022-review-of-physician-advanced-practitioner-recruiting-incentives/
About Merritt Hawkins
Merritt Hawkins is the largest physician search and consulting firm in the United States and is a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AMN). More information about Merritt Hawkins can be accessed at www.merritthawkins.com.
About AMN Healthcare
AMN Healthcare is the leader and innovator in total talent solutions for healthcare organizations across the nation. The Company provides access to the most comprehensive network of quality healthcare professionals through its innovative recruitment strategies and breadth of career opportunities. With insights and expertise, AMN Healthcare helps providers optimize their workforce to successfully reduce complexity, increase efficiency and improve patient outcomes. AMN total talent solutions include managed services programs, clinical and interim healthcare leaders, temporary staffing, executive search solutions, vendor management systems, recruitment process outsourcing, predictive modeling, language interpretation services, revenue cycle solutions, credentialing, and other services. Clients include acute-care hospitals, community health centers and clinics, physician practice groups, retail and urgent care centers, home health facilities, schools and many other healthcare settings. AMN Healthcare is committed to fostering and maintaining a diverse team that reflects the communities we serve. Our commitment to the inclusion of many different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives enables our innovation and leadership in the healthcare services industry. For more information about AMN Healthcare, visit www.amnhealthcare.com.
Senior Principal, Thought Leadership
AMN Healthcare/Merritt Hawkins