Primary care physician salaries rise as shortage looms

A study conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that, overall, primary care physicians’ compensation has increased significantly over the past five years. However, the shortage of primary care physicians that has long been anticipated will probably become a reality in the next few years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The MGMA study, the 2018 MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation, found that “primary care physicians’ compensation rose by more than 10 percent over the past five years.” That number varied by state. In fact, in two states, Alabama and New York, the median total compensation decreased.

The top five states for primary care physician compensation increases were Wyoming (41 percent), Maryland (29 percent), Louisiana (27 percent), Missouri (24 percent) and Mississippi (21 percent). The lowest paying state was reported to be the District of Columbia at $205,776 in median total compensation. Nevada was found to be the highest paying state with $309,431 in median total compensation.

Physician pay has been augmented by additional benefits offered to primary care physicians to attract and retain them, an indication that the physician shortage is looming. The study found that primary care physicians were offered higher signing bonuses, continuing medical education stipends, and relocation expense reimbursements.

The AAMC has estimated that there will be a shortfall of between 14,800 and 49,000 primary care physicians by 2030. Between the growth of the aging of the US population, more people will need medical attention, especially for age-related health conditions.

Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer at MGMA, stated that “MGMA’s latest survey has put strong data behind a concerning trend we’ve seen in the American healthcare system for some time—we are experiencing a real shortage of primary care physicians.”

Elation Health is focused on helping primary care physicians care for their patients more effectively and more efficiently. We are committed to strengthening the relationship between patients and physicians, enabling phenomenal care for everyone.