Demand's cool for primary care physicians

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Although they're not quite an endangered species, primary care physicians aren't exactly in high demand these days, either. That's been the experience of a national physician search and recruitment firm, Merritt, Hawkins, & Associates, during the past five years. The plight of family practitioners, general internists, and pediatricians is reflected by the average salaries offered to them, relative to the salaries commanded by specialists, and by the declining demand for primary care recruitment services. Five years ago, primary care recruitment constituted 72 percent of Merritt Hawkins's physician searches, but now specialist searches account for 76 percent of its physician recruitment. Meanwhile, physicians' income guarantees have declined steadily, perhaps reflecting the increased recruitment of high-salaried specialists.

The 1999/2000 data reflect 1,901 physician search and consulting assignments undertaken by Merritt Hawkins in 44 states between April 1, 1999, and March 31, 2000.

PCPs' average salaries level off...

Many experienced physicians are retiring early.

...while PCP recruitment declines...

Perhaps reflecting a decline in the number of residents in many specialties. well as income guarantees.

Aging population wants greater access to specialists.


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