Aug. 30, 2023, News Staff — No other medical specialists treat a wider swath of patients and care for a broader range of conditions than family physicians. Not only do FPs save more lives than any other medical professionals, but they also rein in patients’ health care costs by providing continuous, comprehensive care that’s deeply rooted in the patient-physician relationship.
Which begs the question: Are you being paid what you’re worth? What about job benefits and work/life balance? Do yours measure up?
You are the key to answering those questions. Find out how you can help your family medicine colleagues discover if they’re being paid fairly — and be sure you are, too.
Your role should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. Simply answer questions about your compensation and work experience in a completely anonymous survey being administered between Aug. 30 and Nov. 10. Data from the survey will be used to create a first-ever career benchmark dashboard that allows AAFP members to compare their salary, benefits and work satisfaction with that of their family medicine peers. Users will be able to filter the data by state, gender or other factors to gauge how their compensation and work environment stack up.
That insight can give individual family physicians a major advantage in knowing their worth and protecting their interests.
“With the information this tool will provide, members will have greater power to negotiate improved compensation,” said Academy EVP and CEO Shawn Martin. “At the same time, the AAFP will continue to push for payment that reflects the value you bring to your patients and communities.”
Because the career benchmark dashboard is intended to provide comprehensive information about salary, benefits and other components of family physicians’ practice environments, the survey asks for information about the following:
You may find it helpful to reference your 2022 tax information or your employment contract to answer some of the survey questions, although you’re welcome to respond with your best estimate of your compensation and benefits. Completing the entire survey is more important than answering every question precisely.
For new physicians, it’s important to know what to expect from early career jobs. When fully realized, the dashboard can help protect you from burnout by allowing you verify that the working conditions of your position are reasonable and equitable. It can also give you the confidence to demand a compensation package that recognizes the actual value you provide.
In addition, because the ideal job involves so much more than a high salary, family physicians at all career stages and in every career path need to be able to see how different roles and settings might affect their well-being or the benefits they’re offered. So, whether you’re a recent residency grad or seasoned practice owner, an academic head or administrative leader, your survey input is critical to develop a robust tool that allows users to filter by demographic, geographic and other factors. The pay transparency the dashboard provides can also reveal bias and discrimination in compensation.
You’ve probably heard the adage “A rising tide lifts all boats.” The same is true in this instance: All family physicians deserve to benefit from new payment policies. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
“Although the AAFP regularly advocates to ensure fair payment for family medicine, increased payment for primary care doesn’t always translate to increased compensation in family physician employment contracts,” said Martin. “This dashboard can equip employed members with the information they need to successfully navigate contract negotiations.”
In addition, by annually updating the dashboard, the AAFP will benefit from an ongoing stream of valuable data to use when calling on Congress, CMS and commercial insurers to move beyond the fee-for-service construct of payment for primary care to payment models that promote comprehensiveness and continuity, are agnostic to modality of care, and reduce administrative burden.
There is one caveat: The dashboard can be a powerful resource for members only if thousands of family physicians respond to the anonymous survey. So, share it with your FP colleagues and in your social networks. We’ve made it easy for you.
“No single strategic objective is more important to building a primary care-centric health care system than payment reform that benefits family physicians,” said Martin. “This tool can augment the progress we have made to advance family medicine and build a better health care system that is foundational in primary care.”