Survey: Hospitalists' compensation on the rise
Hospitalists can breathe a sigh of relief this year in terms of compensation, according to the latest survey released Sept. 28 by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). The State of Hospital Medicine 2011 report showed that median compensation for hospitalists practicing adult medicine increased from $215,000 to $220,619 in 2010.

Pediatric hospitalists also saw a rise in median compensation by 7.2 percent, from $160,038 in 2009 to $171,616 in 2010. Along with higher earnings, hospitalists also reported higher productivity levels.

The report also showed that adult hospitalists with 50 percent base salary or less reported median compensation of $288,154. Adult hospitalists with 51 to 70 percent base salaries reported median compensation of $249,250. Additionally, hospitalists who reported a 71 to 90 percent base salary earned $213,542 in median compensation. Those who reported a 91 to 99 percent base salary reported $221,270 in median compensation.

"Hospitalist medicine continues to be one of the fastest-growing medical specialties, and many of these physicians are directly employed by hospitals," Jeffrey B. Milburn, of Medical Group Management Association's Health Care Consulting Group, said in a statement. “The compensation methodology is still evolving, which provides increased potential for hospitalists to negotiate from a straight base salary to base salary-plus–incentive program based on production and quality metrics.

"Since these data indicate hospitalists with a higher percentage of base salary earn less median compensation, it’s important for both the physician and the hospital system to understand and balance the relationship between compensation and productivity,” he said.

The survey included data on 4,633 hospitalists in 412 groups and 426 academic hospitalists in 68 academic hospital medicine practices.