September 30, 2020

New Market Survey Shares Key Compensation Information in Rural Hospitals in the Upper Midwest

Faegre Drinker announced the release of a new market survey of provider compensation in rural hospitals in the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa) that yields insights and key findings critical to understanding this distinct market. The Midwest Rural Hospital Provider Compensation Survey reveals compensation and productivity metrics for 11 physician specialties and 8 advanced provider types, as well as statistics on provider benefits and recruitment and retention in Midwest rural hospitals, with comparisons to national survey data throughout.

The survey, conducted by Faegre Drinker health care attorney Aaron Dobosenski, found significant disparities in compensation-related metrics in Midwest rural hospitals versus national physician compensation surveys. The survey reports that, on average, in 2019, median compensation was 10%–15% higher, work relative value unit (wRVU) productivity was 20%–25% lower, and median total compensation per wRVU was 40%–50% higher in Midwest rural hospitals than was reported in the most recent national physician compensation surveys.

“It’s been widely reported that rural facilities compensate physicians a little more than large national surveys report due to the difficulty in recruiting physicians to rural communities. The eye-opening aspect of this survey is the extent to which professional productivity diverges in rural hospitals from the national norms.” Dobosenski said.

“Take emergency medicine for example. It’s probably no surprise that the typical ER physician is paid about 5% more annually in a rural hospital than in a large system reported in national surveys. But it may be a surprise to see that the same physician is producing about 50% less in professional services volume (in terms of work-relative value units) than their urban counterparts. That is important to understand for those rural hospitals concerned about whether the compensation they’re paying to their physicians is fair market value.” Dobosenski said. “We believe this survey sets the benchmark for that type of analysis in Midwest rural hospitals.”

With the assistance of the Minnesota Hospital Association and the Iowa Hospital Association, the Midwest Rural Hospital Provider Compensation Survey was sent to approximately 250 rural hospitals in the upper Midwest. Roughly half of the 44 rural hospital respondents are independent hospitals, and half are rural hospitals affiliated with systems. Thirty-nine of the respondents are certified critical access hospitals.

The survey provides data on the following:

  • Provider retention, including turnover percentage and days-to-fill physician and advance practice provider (APP) positions
  • Provider benefits, including FTEs for full-time benefits, health insurance premium employer coverage, retirement match, CME reimbursement and PTO days
  • Physician compensation and productivity for 11 different specialties, including family medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery and orthopedic surgery
  • Advance practice provider compensation and productivity for 8 different APP types, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified registered nurse anesthetists
  • Comparisons with national survey data of compensation and productivity at the median

To learn more about the survey and to purchase, please visit faegredrinker.com/ruralhospitalsurvey. If you have questions about the survey, or if you would like to request additional analysis of the survey results, please contact Aaron Dobosenski at aaron.dobosenski@faegredrinker.com.

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