Hourly Rates for Emergency Medicine Physicians: The Denominator Issue

Emergency Medicine (EM) physicians are often paid an hourly rate for actual hours worked. Compared to other types of physicians, it is less common for them to receive paid-time-off (PTO) benefits. When determining a fair market value (FMV) hourly rate for EM physicians, annual compensation benchmarks from well-known physician compensation surveys can be converted to hourly rates. However, analysts and appraisers often default to a 2,000 or 2,080 hours-per-year denominator for these calculations, which may be inappropriate when it comes to EM physicians.

As shown in the infographic, based on a study of more than 1,000 online classified ads (200 of the ads included compensation terms), the average rate being offered to EM physicians across the country is $216 per hour. This finding is consistent with compensation statistics reported in well-known physician compensation surveys IF the survey data, expressed as a total annual compensation amount, is converted to an hourly rate using a denominator of between 1,584 and 1,728 hours. Using this denominator range, the analyst or appraiser is assuming EM physicians average fewer than 40 hours per week and do not receive paid vacation, sick, or holiday time, consistent with the terms found in the online classified ads. (Click on infographic for a PDF copy.)

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