Though physician compensation is something you don’t want to bring up in an interview until appropriate, it’s a subject you need to broach eventually. In order to make sure a hiring organization is a good fit, you need to be sure you ask the right questions about this topic.

Frankly, physician compensation models and structures can be confusing, which is why you need to be as educated as possible. In this post, I’ll cover nine questions you can ask to get a better grasp of whether a compensation plan meets your needs.

1. What is the physician compensation structure? Ask the hiring organization to explain this in detail. You may be paid on salary, productivity or a combination. In addition, your compensation structure may include benefits, incentives, bonuses and loan repayment. It’s also important to learn how the structure might change over the course of your tenure.

2. What does the basic employee benefit package cover? What about malpractice insurance? Have your potential employer walk you through these things so you can clarify any points of confusion or uncertainty.

3. Does your organization offer a loan repayment program? After graduating from residency, repaying debt is a major concern for most. Find out whether or not your potential empAll Postsloyer offers such a program — it could be very helpful.

4. Can you describe the process of transitioning from a guaranteed salary to productivity-based compensation? How have other physicians adapted to the change? If you are indeed presented with such a compensation arrangement, this is a must-ask question. Making this transition can have a huge impact on your finances if you’re not prepared.

5. Is there a signing bonus? This question will likely be covered when you talk about benefits, but remember: because of inflation, money today is worth more than money later.

6. What is the short- and long-term potential for compensation? In addition to thinking about what you’ll make in the near future, you’ll also want to consider your income potential for the long run.

7. What portion of the compensation is production-based? This ties in with question number four. You really need to consider whether this meets your work style — otherwise, you might not earn what you need.

8. How long does it take to build a practice? If this question is applicable, it’s certainly one you’ll want to discuss. Also ask what you can do to help increase and manage your patient loads.

9. What is the compensation per RVU? How does it compare to the market as a whole? How often is this amount revisited? Again, you’ll want to make sure you’re clear about these terms so you’ll know what to expect.

These questions should give you a clear picture of how your physician compensation package will work. However, hiring a physician contract attorney is a highly recommended and worthwhile investment.

Can you think of any other questions to ask about physician compensation?      


Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Alexian Brothers supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Alexian Brothers is making practice purposeful.