More on Hospital/physician relations

One more reason to focus on retaining physicians: They generate $2.4 million for their hospitals

Family physicians and internists also represent significant ROI, generating $2.1 million and nearly $2.7 million in net revenue, respectively.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

It's no secret that the cost of hiring and training new physicians is a major drain on hospitals, especially those with high turnover. Now, a new survey from physician search firm Merritt Hawkins reveals another reason to focus on clinician retention besides avoiding hiring costs.

Physicians also serve as major drivers of hospital revenue. The survey said physicians generate an average $2,378,727 per year in net revenue on behalf of their affiliated hospitals, up 52 percent from 2016. 

The survey asked hospital CFOs to quantify how much revenue physicians in 18 specialties generated for their hospitals in the previous year, including net inpatient and outpatient revenue from patient hospital admissions, tests, treatments, prescriptions, and procedures performed or ordered by physicians.


The figures reported highlight the need to retain clinical staff and focus in-house efforts on this area both to cut costs associated with rehiring and also to keep a more consistent flow of revenue that would results from physicians staying put. This may require hiring incentives and improved staff wellness programs among other perks. Additionally, the firm said the survey results also reiterate that doctors continue to drive revenue even amidst the transition from volume to value, especially among aging or more complex patient groups who require more complicated care.


Cardiovascular surgeons brought in the most revenue, averaging nearly $3.7 million a year on behalf of their affiliated hospitals, according to the survey. They were followed by invasive cardiologists at $3.5 million, neurosurgeons at $3.4 million and orthopedic surgeons at $3.3 million, the survey said.

Family physicians and internists also represent significant ROI, generating $2.1 million and nearly $2.7 million in net revenue annually for their affiliated hospitals, respectively. The starting salary for family physicians averaged $241,000, according to Merritt Hawkins' data, while generating nine times that much in hospital revenue.

Average revenue generated by each of the 18 medical specialties included in the survey increased compared to 2016, in most cases significantly, Merritt hawkins said.  


"The value of physician care is not only related to the quality of patient outcomes," said Travis Singleton, Merritt Hawkins executive vice president.  "Physicians continue to drive the financial health and viability of hospitals, even in a healthcare system that is evolving towards value-based payments." 

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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