What Types of Physician Assistant Benefits are Commonly Expected?
There are approximately 132,940 new physician assistants who join the ranks of the workforce each year according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These talented workers come into the field with an expected median wage of $119,460 annually ($57.43 hourly), and they are also likely to find themselves as the beneficiary of numerous workplace benefits that are not always available in other lines of work. To get the most from their career, it is valuable for physician assistants to both know how much they are worth to the workforce, and also know what kind of benefits they should lobby their employers to obtain for themselves.
Where do Physician Assistants Work?
Before we can dive into what kind of benefits a physician assistant may request from their employer, it is ideal to know where these physician assistants work in the first place. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a breakdown of this data as well:
- Office of Physicians: 70,000 assistants
- General Medical Hospitals: 30,020 assistants
- Outpatient Care Facility: 13,450 assistants
- Specialty Hospitals (substance abuse facilities for example): 1,520 assistants
- Ambulatory Medical Services: 770 assistants
As you can see from these figures, most physician assistants will be negotiating directly with a physician’s office or a general medical hospital. Both of these types of facilities are typically easier to negotiate with because they usually have the resources necessary to provide their workers with additional benefits. However, those who work in smaller facilities or in outpatient care may discover that they have a tougher mountain to climb. It can still be done, but the work involved will certainly be amplified.
What Kind of Benefits are Expected?
A brand-new physician’s assistant can expect to receive some benefits from their employer, but they may not be able to negotiate the entire array of benefits that they may get with more experience. That said, even new physician assistants (PAs) should not shy away from asking for some of the following benefits.
Health Insurance Coverage
A basic structure of the American healthcare system is that the vast majority of employees are covered by an insurance plan offered through their employer. This employer-based healthcare system is something that physician assistants are well-aware of, and it is something that they need to adapt to in order to make sure they have the coverage that they require to protect their health.
Depending on where they work, some physician assistants (PAs) may have the chance to get heavily discounted healthcare programs because they can receive many of the services that they require directly at the facility where they work. That is something worth looking into more deeply as you scan your contract.
Retirement Plan (401k)
The median amount of money that the average American has saved in their 401(k) retirement plan is just $33,472 according to an analysis by investment house Vanguard. This is disturbing because it means that most people are not saving nearly enough toward their eventual retirement. It is also something that should motivate every physician assistant to make sure they have a 401(k) plan included in their contract. After all, no one should count on programs such as Social Security to bail them out if they don’t save enough for retirement.
A variety of options should be available to every employee who wants to put money away in their 401(k) program. This means that physician’s assistants need to look into the depths of the 401(k) plan that is offered to them so they can figure out if it is indeed a quality program that they can rely upon.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
No matter who you are or what you have going on in your life, you will need to take some time off from work in order to recharge your internal batteries. Taking some paid time off (PTO) allows you to do so without worrying about missing out on a paycheck. That is one of the biggest concerns that people have when they take some time for themselves, and it shouldn’t have to be this way. Employees should be able to enjoy their freedom to take a break from the day-to-day work that they do in order to enjoy some time for themselves.
PTO should be a demand made even by those who are brand-new physician assistants (PAs). There is no reason not to be able to enjoy at least some time off throughout the course of the year. The standard is to allow for at least 2 weeks of PTO per year, ideally more.
After a physician’s assistant has established themselves with a new employer, they may consider renegotiating their contract:
After the six-month-to-one-year trial period, the PA should be very comfortable in the practice. This is when the PA can become more valuable to the SP/practice because she/ he can start to attract her/his own patient referrals and has earned the trust of the support staff and community. At this time, it is common to renegotiate the PA’s compensation to a salary + percentage-based structure.
They are bringing extra value to their employer at that point, and they deserve to be compensated for that additional value. Thus, when a physician assistant (PA) reaches that point, it may be time to call in a physician assistant contract attorney to help one examine exactly what to fight for in their next round of contract negotiations.
Physician Assistant Contract Questions?
Contract Review, Termination Issues and more!
Does a Physician Assistant Repay a Bonus if the Contract is Terminated? | Repayment by a Physician Assistant
Does a physician assistant have to pay back their bonus if they terminate their employment agreement early? The answer to this is it’s likely. Now, again, every employment agreement is different but from our experience and most employment agreements that we have reviewed over the years, normally when there’s some type of bonus. And when I mean bonus, I’m talking about a sign-on bonus, commencement bonus, any type where a physician assistant gets a bonus upon signing or upon starting your employment, there’s normally some type of payback provision or payback language or forgiveness of the amount language in physician assistants employment agreement. So, you always want to make sure you read your benefits carefully.
How Much Paid Time Off Should a Physician Assistant Get? | PA Vacation and Paid Time
How much paid time off should a physician assistant get? What is the industry standard as far as time off goes? Well, first, you’re only going to get paid time off if you are an employee. If you are an independent contractor and receive a 1099 at the end of the year, it is very unlikely that you’re going to be given any paid time off at all. There are many physician assistants (PAs) that work as independent contractors, especially those in the surgical specialties. They are only working sporadically, maybe a couple of weekends a month, or even only a couple of days a month. And in that scenario, if you’re an independent contractor, you are not going to get paid time off. This discussion will be about employed physician assistants who receive normal paid time off as part of their professional benefits offered.
Should a Physician Assistant be Reimbursed for Moving Expenses? | Medical Relocation Reimbursement
Should a physician assistant be reimbursed for relocation expenses? The answer is yes, physician assistants should be reimbursed. If you are moving to a new area, out of state, across the state, or across the country, you should absolutely be reimbursed for those relocation expenses. However, it can look unique in your employment agreement. There are lots of different ways to structure this and I’ll go through the most common ones that I have seen. I’ll start off. The first way is probably the most common; it’s considered a relocation bonus, or they’ll call it a relocation allowance. And what this looks like is you’re normally offered anywhere from 10 to 20,000 upfront, the company will just, or your employer will pay you directly that amount of money.
What Benefits Should Go In a Physician Assistant Offer Letter? | PA Offer Letter Benefits
What benefits should be in an offer letter for a physician assistant? First, let’s start with what is an offer letter? Sometimes it goes by different names: offer letter, letter of intent, intent to negotiate. That goes on from there, but an offer letter starts the process for physician assistant employment and for physician assistant employment agreement. Normally, in an offer letter, it’s going to be short and sort of like an outline of what they’re offering to a physician assistant in their employment agreement. Normally, in an offer letter, you’re going to first get your compensation. Normally, your base compensation, and then there may be additional bonuses for production or collections. And that should also be included in the offer letter.
What Physician Assistant Expenses Should an Employer Pay For? | Physician Assistant Employee Expenses
What business expenses should be reimbursed by your employer regarding a physician assistant employment agreement? I’ll just run through the list of the most common business expenses that we typically see within our practice. Each sort of employment relationship is unique. And so, they could not be included in this list. So, you just must consider whether a physician assistant needs to carry out the duties that you’re employed for. And then whatever that is, that should really be the business expenses that you’re getting reimbursed for. But starting from the biggest amounts of money. And I’ll work my way down.
How Does the Attorney Add Value?
A contract attorney is extremely helpful at this stage of the process because he or she can make sure that everything that you have negotiated so hard for is truly added to your new contract. They will check the contract line-by-line to verify that your employer has met the terms that you believe they have. The negotiation process can be lengthy, and no one wants to give up the ground that they have fought so hard to win in the first place. Thus, it just makes sense to have an attorney look over everything when it is completed.
Our bottom line is to help physician assistants get the salary and benefits that they deserve, and we will fight for that mission.