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Emergency Medicine News' Salary Survey: They Work Hard for the Money

Hoffman, Lisa

Emergency Medicine News: May 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 5 - p 16
doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000483180.96468.8d
Emergency Medicine News' Salary Survey
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By far, more emergency physicians responding to the EMN survey are board certified than those who are not — 88 percent vs. 12 percent. That flops back the other way in all higher salary categories, however, reaching the largest disparity among those who earn more than $350,000: Twenty percent of those board certified make more than $350,000, a salary category that aligns with those EPs who are working as heads of the department and residency directors.

Sixteen percent of those not board certified made more than $350,000, a percentage that is still higher than any other board certified EP in any other salary range. Overall, board certified EPs earn more than non-board certified EPs in half of the 11 salary categories (one was a tie), but non-board certified EPs outnumber board certified EPs on the two lowest salary rungs: under $100,000 and $100,000-$150,000.

The number of hours emergency physicians reported working in our survey was somewhat surprising. The variance between the fewest hours worked a week — under 40 — with the highest — more than 65 — was astounding. Forty-six percent of EPs said they work less than 40 hours a week, which was a higher percentage than any other category of hours worked. Fourteen percent of those said they made $200,001 to $225,000 a year, but EPs reporting less than 40 hours a week also fell into higher salary categories as well: 13 percent each in the categories of $225,001-$250,000, $250,001-$275,000, and more than $350,000.

The biggest surprise, however, came from a small handful of EPs (n=34) who work more than 65 hours a week. Fourteen percent of those earn $100,000-$150,000 a year, and 24 percent make $225,001-$250,000. Twenty-nine percent of those making more than $350,000 a year also reported working more than 65 hours a week. (Raw data online; see box.)

What are EPs doing during all that work time? Mostly seeing patients, of course. Nearly 40 percent of our respondents said they spend 31-40 hours a week in patient care, and that was followed by nearly 25 percent who spend more than 40 hours and almost 23 percent who spend 21-30 hours a week seeing patients. By and large, most EPs spending the most time seeing patients earn the most, with 36 percent of those making more than $350,000 spending more time than any other salary category seeing patients. EPs seeing the most patients — 15 percent who see patients 31-40 hours a week — fall into the $250,001-$275,000 salary category. (See box.)

Then there's the paperwork. The word itself makes a cold chill run down the spines of most EPs. It's the top complaint we heard: finishing charts, staying after the shift ends to complete paperwork, and not being reimbursed for that time. Our survey shows why. More than 50 percent of EPs said they spend 1-10 hours a week on paperwork, completing medical records, and administrative tasks. Another 25 percent spend 11-20 hours, and 8.5 percent spend 21-30 hours a week on those tasks. And most — 58 percent — are not compensated for that time. Those who make more than $350,000 a year spend the most time on paperwork, though EPs making $200,000 and up are also logging a lot of hours. (Raw data online.)

And the effect on the number of employees managed on salary? As expected, the higher the salary, the greater the number of employees the emergency physician manages, such as those earning in the upper echelons in our survey — from $200,001 to more than $350,000. Twenty-nine percent of those managing 30 or more employees made more than $350,000 a year, though 29 percent of those managing 26-30 employees reported earning $300,001-$325,000.

It stands to reason, then, that those who said salary was most important to them, more than the job itself and lifestyle, made the most. Forty-two percent of those making $350,000 or more said they wanted the highest salary possible, and job and lifestyle were secondary. Fifteen percent of those making $250,001-$275,000, however, said they would accept a lower salary for the job and lifestyle they want. Overall, across all salary categories, 82 percent said they want to be paid fairly but job and lifestyle are as important as salary, nearly 12 percent said they would accept a lower salary for the job and lifestyle they want, and almost six percent said they want the highest salary possible, even if it meant compromising on job and lifestyle.

Most emergency physicians (nearly 65%) also receive flat percentage increases each year, though 35 percent reported that their salary increase was tied to achieving specific goals. EPs mostly received 0-2 percent increases (67%) or 2.1-4 percent salary hikes (17%). A lucky few, however, saw much larger increases: nearly seven percent received increases of more than seven percent, 5.7 percent received increases of 4.1-5 percent, 1.9 percent received hikes of 5.16-6 percent, and one percent saw bumps of 6.1-7 percent.

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More Data Online

Find the raw data for this survey at http://emn.online/SalarySurveyBlog.

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