Physician signing bonuses favor primary care, but salaries still lag

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A new report on physician searches by a large recruiter shows a growing use of bonuses to attract providers. The strongest growth in searches is among family practice, general internal medicine and pediatrics. 85% of searches include signing bonuses averaging $24,850. 98% also include relocation allowances averaging $10,427. Other incentives include continuing medical education pay, malpractice, health insurance, retirement, disability and educational loan forgiveness. Family practice slots were the most common searches at 595, up from 297 in 2005/6. Starting salaries for family practice physicians averaged $173,000 (up 19% from 2005/6), for internists $186,000 (up 15%), and for pediatricians $171,000 (up 13%). Not bad, but specialists still make far more — $401,000 for urologists, $419,000 for cardiologists, and $481,000 for orthopedic surgeons. The mean US annual wage for registered nurses is $65,130. The report covered searches for 3,800 physicians and nurse anesthetists between April 2008 and March of this year across 47 states including CT.
Ellen Andrews