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Daniel Stern & Associates released the results of their 22nd Annual National Emergency Physician Salary Survey, in which they polled 1078 physicians from all 50 states and the District of Columbia about their compensation and their duties for the year 2006. All signs point to a job seeker’s market as the number of patient visits to EDs in 2006 increased by 15.96%, increasing the need for qualified EPs.

For example, 70.5% of the respondents to the survey reported their ED added additional physicians in the past 12 months and 61.5% of respondents reported that their EDs plan to add additional physicians in the next 12 months. With demand this high, competition between hospitals for EPs is fierce, explaining the 22% increase in the number of newly hired staff physicians who received a signing bonus.

Although a large percentage (36.64%) of doctors reported that they considered giving up the practice of medicine in 2006 because of liability issues, this percentage dropped by 10% from the 2005 results, a significant decrease, especially given the increase in patient numbers.

Hourly compensation varied greatly across the country, but overall the average hourly compensation increased from $119 to $124, a 3% difference. While this is not a huge leap, one group of physicians did see a dramatic swing in their hourly rate. Physicians in the 10% percentile bracket (those receiving the lowest hourly rate) saw their salaries jump by 22% from $74 an hour in 2005 to $95 an hour in 2006. This increase helped offset the increase in co-payments for benefits more than half (55.75%) of the physicians surveyed experienced in 2006.

This survey makes no predictions for 2007, but the numbers make clear that competition between hospitals for qualified physicians will remain strong, with physicians reaping the benefits of sign-on bonuses and increased bargaining power in the hiring process. If you are thinking of making a move, now may be your time.
 

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