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Demand Continues For Primary Care Providers

Survey looks at physician recruitment trends (September 5)

Merritt Hawkins, a national health care consulting and recruitment firm, recently completed the company’s annual review of physician recruitment trends. The 2013 review was based on a survey of 3,097 permanent physician and advanced-practitioner job assignments conducted by Merritt Hawkins and two other staffing companies.

Consistent with the national dialogue about increasing health care access to the underserved, the review found that hospitals and medical groups are continuing to seek primary care physicians, nurses, and assistants.

Merritt Hawkins also reported an increased demand for emergency room doctors, who often treat patients who turn to hospitals as a last resort or for convenience.

This year was the first in which employers requested significantly more geriatricians than in past years. This specialty was among the firms’ top 20 most recruited. With more than 20% of the country set to be 65 years old or older by 2050, serving an older population has already changed the need for tailored health care services.

Meanwhile, other specialties, such as radiology and anesthesiology, didn’t make the top-20 list for 2013, despite being among the most competitive and desired positions a decade ago.

The shift reflects both the needs of the country and anxiety around the practice of medicine, explains Dr. Atul Grover, an internist and chief public policy officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The survey found that in-demand primary care doctors continue to be on the lower end of the salary scale compared with other medical specialists, with an average salary of $175,000, according to the most recent Physician Compensation Report from Medscape. That’s less than half the average compensation of their peers in fields such as cardiology, dermatology, and radiology.

Source: Kaiser Health News; September 5, 2013.

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