AAHPM Physician Compensation Survey Reveals Diversity in Pay, High Job Satisfaction

Charles V. (Chuck) Wellman, MD FAAHPM, is Chief Medical Director of Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH, and chair of AAHPM’s Leadership and Workforce Strategic Coordinating Committee

It is with great pleasure that we can finally announce the availability of the AAHPM Physician Compensation and Benefits Survey Report. Two years ago a poll of AAHPM’s members indicated a strong interest in such a survey. Earlier surveys, while helpful, suffered from a low rate of participation and from a lack of depth and refinement in the data. Consequently, the Academy’s Board of Directors charged the Business Practice Task Force to select a vendor who could help to design and implement such a survey. As a co-chair of the Task Force at the time and as current chair of our Leadership and Workforce Strategic Coordinating Committee, I can attest to the many hours that Task Force members spent on this process and the challenges we faced in dealing with the complexity and variability in our field.

The complexity is and will continue to be a challenge. HPM practitioners come from many different backgrounds. We work fulltime and part-time. We work for hospices, hospitals, the Veterans Administration, or as independent practitioners. Some of us are on salary while others have productivity-based compensation. We measure productivity in different ways. Some of us are in academic settings, and many of us have administrative, research, and teaching responsibilities. We have great variability in titles with no consistent agreement on chief medical officer, medical director, associate medical director, and team physician. As you might imagine, each iteration of the survey resulted in further discussion, and we realized a constant tension between designing a thorough, comprehensive survey versus a survey that might be too complex or time-consuming. In the end we find ourselves very pleased and grateful that nearly 800 of us were willing to complete this survey.

One will find that there is a wealth of data in this survey. It tells us a lot about who we are in this relatively young field. It will help to establish ranges of benefits and compensation, which will be increasingly important as we strive to attract residents and mid-career physicians to our field. The survey will give us greater flexibility in negotiating work hours, time off, productivity expectations, and CME benefits. There were also questions about job satisfaction, and it is exciting and gratifying to know 96% of us are satisfied or very satisfied with our profession and 93% of us are likely or very likely to recommend a career in HPM.

The survey will continue to be a work in progress. As we review the current survey results, it is expected that additional questions will arise, and there will be recommendations on how to further refine the survey questions. The unique and evolving arrangements in our field will challenge our future revisions, but we invite your feedback and encourage dialogue on how we can make future surveys more helpful and accurate. Comments can also be sent to the Academy at info@aahpm.org, (Subject: Comp Survey Feedback.) It is an exciting start.

3 thoughts on “AAHPM Physician Compensation Survey Reveals Diversity in Pay, High Job Satisfaction

  1. The survey of AAHPM membership on compensation, and the imminent release of its findings, surely represents a major step in the maturation of the specialty. As the practice and role of HPM physicians evolves within the larger health care system, having a deep understanding of current compensation patterns is essential to advancing the value proposition of the future HPM physician. As Dr. Wellman states, the Report “tells us a lot about who we are in this relatively young field.” Indeed it does. Every physician interested in advancing one’s career in Hospice and Palliative Medicine would do well to purchase a copy.

  2. I am delighted that this survey is available. However I question why it is so expensive. Maybe having online access to the report without acces to Mercer PayMonitor. The price is a little steep for those of us in a small team!

    • Dr. Bering, thank you for your feedback.

      The survey report pricing reflects the Academy’s effort to provide fair value to all of our members while keeping our annual dues as low as possible.

      AAHPM has grown tremendously over the past 5 years (over a 100% increase in membership). As such, the organization now represents a very broad constituency with different interests and needs. When the Academy initiates projects that may not be of interest to all members, a fee is typically added to help defray these costs. In the case of the compensation survey, the product was specifically requested (via member survey) by a substantial number – but not all – of our members. So, product sales are intended to cover the costs of consultants, staff oversight, printing, marketing, and distribution so that these are not reflected in any dues increase.

      The price point on this report is actually substantially lower than other similar surveys for other specialties. AAHPM looked at 40 national medical specialty societies to determine how those groups that conduct compensation surveys priced the resulting product. While many societies refer their members to participate in the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) compensation survey, some had conducted their own. Overall, the charge for a report of survey data, whether packaged as a printed or e-product, ranged from no cost to over $700. It was typical for organizations to charge something and to offer discounts according to whether the purchaser was a survey participant or a member of the association.

      AAHPM survey participants are receiving a discount on the purchase of the report and a free copy of the Executive Summary. AAHPM members will always benefit from a reduced rate on Academy products, and survey findings will be highlighted in the Academy’s newsletter, AAHPM Quarterly, which members will receive.

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