Gallagher survey data suggests that healthcare practices should regularly evaluate service requirements for their employed emergency department physicians to align with market trends.

Author: Rob Lenio


Annual hours expectations for full-time emergency medicine physicians can vary widely across markets. Such is our observation based on Gallagher survey data and consulting experience working with healthcare organizations across the US. Gallagher's Physician Compensation and Valuation Consulting team found limited publicly available survey data for healthcare organizations to rely upon when determining the level of service a "typical" 1.0 FTE physician should provide.

In 2022, Gallagher conducted the Emergency Medicine Pulse Survey to provide data relative to market norms for annual hours requirements for emergency department (ED) physicians.

In total, 55 healthcare organizations representing 25 states and more than 3,000 ED physicians responded to our survey, providing a robust sampling of the market for hospital-employed ED physician services. Because we received relatively limited data from independent practices, we recommend caution when referencing our report with respect to independent practices.

Gallagher's pulse survey found the median number of annual hours required of an employed ED physician at 1,680. The 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles of the data set appear below:

P25 P50 P75 P90
Annual Hours Required 1,560 1,680 1,728 2,016

Analysts noted a large variance in the number of required annual hours within the data set, ranging from 1,296 annual hours at the minimum to 2,280 annual hours at the maximum — a range of approximately 1,000 hours.

Our survey asked respondents to specify the annual actual hours of service required hours plus any additional shift hours provided by their ED physicians. Based on the results, we found that the median number of actual hours an employed ED physician provides is 1,712. Overall, ED physicians provide an average 5% more hours than required. The 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles of the data set appear below:

P25 P50 P75 P90
Annual Hours Worked 1,605 1,712 1,961 2,154

Finally, 95% of organizations responding to our survey indicate that they outline annual hours requirements in their contracts. The majority of organizations also use a standardized requirement across sites of service. Accordingly, ED physicians within the same organization must provide the same number of hours regardless of service location.

However, we observed that in instances where annual hours expectations vary by site of service, hours typically increase at rural sites and decrease at urban high-acuity sites. Further, more than 70% of responding organizations indicated that they don't adjust annual hours requirements for experienced ED physicians.

Gallagher's 2022 Emergency Medicine Pulse Survey demonstrates that wide variance in annual hours requirements remains a market feature for employed ED physicians. We recommend that healthcare organizations regularly evaluate service requirements for their employed ED physicians to ensure that those requirements remain aligned with the local market and current national trends.

Visit Physician Compensation and Valuation to learn more about how Gallagher helps healthcare organizations align physician service requirements and compensation with market trends.

This article was produced for the American Association of Provider Compensation Professionals.


Consulting and insurance brokerage services to be provided by Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. and/or its affiliate Gallagher Benefit Services (Canada) Group Inc. Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. is a licensed insurance agency that does business in California as "Gallagher Benefit Services of California Insurance Services" and in Massachusetts as "Gallagher Benefit Insurance Services." Neither Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., nor its affiliates provide accounting, legal or tax advice.