The Medicus Firm 2018 Physician Practice Preference & Relocation Survey

RPT_CoverPDFThe 15th annual Physician Practice Preference & Relocation Survey was conducted by The Medicus Firm (TMF) in May 2018, via a third-party survey program. Invitations to participate in the confidential, anonymous survey were emailed to a random sample of U.S. physicians via TMF’s proprietary physician database, and the M3 Global Research physician panel. No honorarium was offered for participating in this survey, and a total of 2,219 medical professionals participated in 2018, including physicians and advanced practice clinicians in a variety of specialties.

Value-Based Pay: No significant shift since last year
There were no major changes in the status of value-based pay. This year, only 43% of physicians (compared to about 41% last year) could say with certainty that any portion of their pay is value-based, and nearly half of those physicians also report that their value based income is ten percent or less of their total compensation structure. There does not seem to have been much progress this year over last year in terms of implementing value-based physician compensation.

Physicians on the move
Physicians are more frequently being employed by hospitals and health systems, and fewer physicians are owners or partners in their own medical practice. This year, 64% of physician survey respondents are employed, compared to 58% last year. Over the past few years, more than 90% of The Medicus Firm’s placements are employment opportunities vs. private practice. Therefore, it has become easier for physicians to move between jobs, with no practice to close or sell, nor a partnership to buy out of or into. To that end, the percentage of physicians planning a definite or potential career move in the next 12 months increased 2%, to 19.8%. Physicians who feel they are “definitely not” making a career change declined by more than 2.5 points, to 26%.

Work hours and burn-out
About 38% of physicians indicate that they work more than 50 hours per week, similar to last year. However, there was a two-point increase in the percentage of physicians who said they work over 60 hours, to 18.4%. Also, most physicians indicated experiencing one or more symptoms of burnout in the past year (85-90%). Reported symptoms of burnout include physical or mental exhaustion, depersonalization or lack of caring, and decreased efficacy. Additionally, more than 37% of physicians reported doing some sort of moonlighting, and nearly two-thirds of those do so on a regular or ongoing basis. About 14% of physician respondents reported doing some periodic or occasional moonlighting, as opposed to a steady or ongoing side job.

Compensation and career concerns
Many physicians’ career concerns are similar to last year’s survey. There were a few shifts, such as a 6% increase (to 46%) in concerns over payor mix and declining reimbursements, which remain the most limiting factors for physicians’ income, in their opinion. Physicians are much less concerned with malpractice premium costs (0.8% vs. 1.7% last year), and competition with other physicians (6%).

Community and practice preferences
Major metro areas surged in popularity among residents and fellows, with 47.7% choosing major metro as their most preferred community in which to work (up from 36% last year.) Otherwise, trends were similar to last year’s practice preferences. Practicing physicians remain more open to smaller communities than residents and fellows, with 28% preferring major metro as their top choice, vs. 47.7% of residents and fellows who prefer metro areas. The most significant shift in practice type preference was a large jump in popularity for academic roles among residents and fellows, up to 34.7%, from 25% last year, and a decline in preference for single-specialty groups. Hospital employment jumped up 4 points in popularity among practicing doctors, to 20.5%

About The Medicus Firm:
Since 2001, The Medicus Firm has partnered with hospitals and physician groups nationwide to help them meet their physician recruitment needs.

The Medicus Firm has grown into one of the largest physician search firms in the industry through excellent client satisfaction, employee engagement & retention, and industry stewardship.

They  have successfully recruited to a wide variety of locations and settings including rural, mid-size, and metro areas, academic, private practice, and employment opportunities, making TMF among the most knowledgeable, effective recruitment teams in the industry.

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