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Survey reveals advanced practice clinician workforce continues to grow and incentive pay is an increasing part of the compensation mix

Findings released in the 2013 Advanced Practice Clinician Compensation and Pay Practices Survey Report highlight the continuing high demand for advanced practice clinicians (APCs). The report details survey research conducted by the (AMGA), a trade association representing medical groups and integrated health systems and Sullivan, , (SullivanCotter), a health care and human resources management consulting firm. The survey revealed that approximately 2/3 of organizations reported an increase in their APC workforce within the past 12 months and 2/3 projected an increase within the next 12 months.

With the continued growth of the APC profession, there has also been an increase in the number of organizations that have APCs serving in administrative roles. This year, 31% of responding organizations indicated that some of their APCs serve in administrative roles, which is an increase from 20% in 2012. In addition, 14% of responding organizations indicated that APCs report to a director of APCs in 2013, compared to 1% in 2012. “This increase may signal a move toward integrating APCs across systems and developing a more comprehensive strategy for managing this important provider group,” Kay Jensen, Principal and Employee Compensation Practice Leader for SullivanCotter, stated.

Total varied by broad specialty area, ranging from and physician assistants in medical specialties earning a median of $97,858 and $97,272, respectively, to a median of $104,000 earned by both and physician assistants in hospital-based specialties.

While base or guaranteed salary continues to be the primary component of cash compensation for APCs, 45% of respondents use a combination of base or guaranteed salary and incentive pay for at least some of their APCs. In particular, the top measures used by participants for nurse practitioners and physician assistants are work RVUs and quality. When these incentives are provided, they contribute a median of approximately 10% of all compensation plan components.

“These findings provide hard data to demonstrate the importance of APCs in the future of health care delivery,” said AMGA President and Chief Executive Officer Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE. “For years, we have seen the movement towards a more team-based, coordinated approach to patient care. As more and more groups expand these models throughout their organizations, this survey provides a tool to systematically track and benchmark changes in this area, which will help them in their strategic and financial planning for continued growth and success.”

Over 300 health systems, hospitals and physician group practices participated in the survey. Total cash compensation data were submitted for more than 27,000 certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants across 83 specialties. Data are effective July 1, 2013. The survey not only provides total cash compensation data for APCs, but also data on pay practices such as on-call pay, shift differentials, compensation plan components and supplemental benefits.


Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc.