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A Shift Towards Employed Physicians: What’s In It For Fundraising?

The health care market has been going through Physicians as Fundraisersconsiderable changes including many physicians shifting from having their own private practice to salaried jobs. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) about 60 percent of family doctors and pediatricians, 50 percent of surgeons and 25 percent of surgical subspecialists are  already employees rather than independents. That number is predicted to grow.

The New York Times recently PUBLISH an article where the author argues the pros and cons of the phenomenon for the industry, physicians and the patients alike. But what are the ramifications for the fundraising efforts of the healthcare industry?

The ongoing debate about the changes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bringing has made healthcare industry leaders look for innovative revenue streams. In one of my recent posts on the effects of ACA, I reasoned that fundraising will become an increasingly effective and impactful revenue source. Dedicated physicians who care about their institution enough to cultivate donors might be the agents in helping to solve the industries’ financial hurdles.

For years hospital foundations have been trying to turn doctors into donors. The effort has had its challenges. The reality is that the base salaries of physicians are related to the income they can generate, which ranges from under $200,000 for primary care doctors to $575,000 in cardiology to $663,000 in neurosurgery, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Subtract hefty student loan payments, liability insurance in some cases, as well as living expenses and there is not much left to give. The juxtaposition of earnings and philanthropic expectations can sometimes be unrealistic.

The fact that more and more physicians lean towards becoming salaried employees may prove to be vital in changing behaviors, mainly engaging physicians in philanthropic effort. Hospital leaders should consider leveraging this trend to turn physicians into solicitors, cultivators and philanthropic advocates rather than simply focusing on turning them into donors.

As a result of their connection to their primary institution employed physicians may be more likely to understand the needs of their foundation to support its efforts. Daily encounters with patients as well as regularly walking the halls should increase the likelihood of physicians engaging in fundraising.     

When hospitals gather employed physicians and specialists under one roof, it can yield not only cost-efficient and coordinated patient care but also help establish long-lasting philanthropic culture.

Want to learn more? Contact Adam Wilhelm, Senior Consultant, Campbell & Company.

About the Campbell & Company Healthcare Practice 

The Campbell & Company Healthcare Team are experts in healthcare philanthropy and staff management. We understand the context in which healthcare organizations operate, and create a structure and process within that context, tailored to your community, that allows philanthropy to grow. For 37 years, we have helped hundreds of healthcare institutions succeed in growing and sustaining their programs.

Campbell & Company maintains offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC. For more information, please telephone (877) 957-0000 toll free, email or visit

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Adam Wilhelm
About Adam Wilhelm A hands-on collaborator, Adam Wilhelm engages organizational leadership and Boards and translates their visions into implementable activities for fundraising teams. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated consummate...
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