Lots of factors go into determining how physicians get paid – and how much.
There’s the size and established compensation structure of a given organization. The type of practice can be a factor, along with whether it’s rural or urban. And of course there’s physician experience and expected responsibilities to consider.
As you search and interview for your first or next practice, salary isn’t the topic with which you want to start a conversation, but it is an important one to have. When that time comes, here are four questions you’ll want to get answered to help you understand how you’ll be paid:
- What’s the compensation mix?
There may be a base salary for the role, but it likely will be only one piece of your total compensation – especially the longer you’re in a role. Be sure your discussion confirms all the factors that go into the position’s total compensation.
Is there a base salary? Are there productivity incentives tied to relative value units (RVUs)? Are there any additional bonuses? And what percentage of the total compensation makes up each component?
- How long from the start date will I shift to a standard compensation model?
More often than not, your total compensation will include a mix of base salary and bonuses based on productivity. Some employers may start new hires with a standard base salary before transitioning them to the one involving a productivity model.
Knowing this – and when that transition takes place – helps you understand the timeframe you’ll have for the practice to begin reaching and exceeding those goals for you to earn your productivity incentives.
- Are productivity incentives based on individual or group performance, or a mixture of both?
Simply knowing productivity affects your compensation level is one thing. It’s another one entirely to understand what thresholds must be met – and by whom – to reach and exceed those goals.
Be sure you learn whether productivity goals are tied to your individual performance, which puts more of the onus on you, or to the entire practice. It may also help to understand how often those goals are reached, along with the most common reasons the practice may fall short.
- Can you describe the organization’s culture?
That’s right. Knowing about culture helps you gain a better understanding of the compensation model, too.
An organization’s culture may help explain why its pay is structured the way it is. With this understanding, you can better identify areas in the contract they may be willing to negotiate – and others they aren’t.