APRIL 1, 2017

Welcome to the Health Care Compensation Update eNewsletter
Editor: Benjamin R. Grant

2017 Healthcare Salary Trends: The Climb Continues
Healthcare salaries have enjoyed a steady uphill climb since the Great Recession, a trend that experts predict will continue this year. This trend is likely to persist despite the current political climate that is making it difficult to predict what might happen to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the impact on healthcare employment and salaries. Hot healthcare roles in 2017 include:

  • Nursing aides. Facilities have long relied on nurses' aides to deliver many aspects of basic patient care. While this trend will continue, people in those roles are increasingly expected to use more sophisticated technology. That will require more employee training, Robinson says. In turn, these skills will drive up wages of the most highly- qualified workers.
  • Nurses and physician assistants. Compensation for these positions will have more bargaining power due to high demand.
  • Executive positions. Healthcare companies are paying a premium for talented executives who can navigate the quickly changing healthcare landscape.
Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant Salary Grew in 2016
As nurse practitioner and physician assistant salary rates continue to rise, a recent PracticeMatch survey found that more advanced practitioners are also increasingly enjoying their jobs. The survey of over 1,000 nurse practitioners and physician assistants found that about half of the clinicians experienced a boost in income between 2016 and 2015, with 12 percent reporting an increase in compensation of 8 percent or higher. Both advanced practitioner groups reported that their median salary across all care settings and experience levels was about $100,000 annually. The average annual salary for nurse practitioners was around $106,500, whereas physician assistants reported an average yearly salary of about $111,500.

7 Statistics on NP, PA Job Satisfaction & Salary
Here are seven statistics and key points on advanced practitioners' job satisfaction, signing bonuses and salary trends.
  1. Thirty-eight percent of NPs and 44 percent of PAs are very satisfied with their careers, and one-third of each group said they were satisfied.
  2. Signing bonuses have become more common in recent years, but still are not widespread -- 14 percent of respondents with fewer than 10 years of experience received a signing bonus.
  3. Signing bonuses for nurse practitioners were higher than for physician assistants, at $11,000 and $8,000 on average, respectively.
  4. Roughly half of respondents saw their salary increase from 2015 to 2016. Thirteen percent saw their salaries increase by 4 to 7 percent, and 12 percent saw an increase of 8 percent or more.
  5. Only 15 percent of respondents said they were extremely satisfied with their income, a quarter said they were very satisfied and most (44 percent) said they were merely satisfied.
  6. Fifteen percent of PAs and NPs were not satisfied with their salary.
  7. PAs and NPs with 11 to 20 years of experience made the most in base pay of any group, with a salary average of $119,330. Advanced practitioners with 10 years of experience or less earned an average of $103,120, and those with more than 20 years of experience had a base pay of $104,510.
9 in 10 Physicians Got Signing Bonuses in 2016
In response to continuing high demand for clinicians, the average amount of signing bonuses in 2016 rose 4.8% from the previous year, according to The Medicus Firm. Organizations recruiting physicians and advance practice clinicians in 2016 were very likely to sweeten the pot with generous signing bonuses, according to data from The Medicus Firm, a national search firm specializing in permanent placement of physicians. Nearly 90% of clinicians (87.4%) hired through the firm received a signing bonus last year, up from 68% in 2015. Among physicians, 90.4% of placements included a signing bonus.


In Honor of Health Care HR Week, ASHHRA Invites You to Take Part in this Special Opportunity to Receive a CHHR Exam Scholarship
As a health care human resources professional, it's time to recognize your expertise and get certified through the AHA Certification Center (AHA-CC) to gain the recognition you deserve ASHHRA members who apply for a CHHR Scholarship between March 12 through April 7, 2017, will be considered to receive a voucher for the full CHHR exam fee (a $295 value). This is a limited-time, exclusive offer only available to active ASHHRA members who meet the eligibility requirements and plan to submit the CHHR exam application by December 31, 2017.

Human Resources Problems Causing Hiring, Retention Headaches for VA
Veterans Affairs has a human resources problem, and it's complicating an already difficult recruiting process for the embattled department, outside analysts told lawmakers Wednesday. A new analysis of department operations shows shortfalls in human resources specialists across the department are hurting retention and slowing the hiring of new employees, resulting in a growing number of vacancies across the VA bureaucracy. And fixing the problem is complicated by President Trump's federal hiring freeze announced in January. More than 100 VA jobs have been given exemptions from that freeze, but HR specialists are not among them.

Southwest Florida Hospitals in a Hiring Spree, for the Right Applicants
Barring some dramatic economic downturn, the health care industry in Southwest Florida and elsewhere is expected to continue its hiring spree for the foreseeable future. Nationally, the number of health-related jobs is expected to grow 19 percent by 2024. That's 2.3 million new jobs, a rate of growth that exceeds all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lee Health, the largest hospital operator in Southwest Florida and Lee County's biggest employer, reported this month that its vacancies jumped 64 percent between 2015 and 2016 a period that also saw five-figure signing bonuses for the highest-trained medical professionals. Part of this ongoing demand is a result of the region's rebounding economy and growing population. Some of it is the simple fact that highly trained medical professionals are often in short supply.

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Benjamin R. Grant