Number of Employee Pathologists Grows Even as Private Pathology Groups Do Well

Demand for pathologists is strong and growing. That’s good for the profession, but makes it more challenging for labs and pathology groups to recruit top talent. Lots of bidders for the best pathology talent means that skilled pathologists-particularly those with subspecialty expertise-are commanding more money and richer compensation and benefits packages.

“In certain respects, it is a boom time in pathology,” stated Rich Cornell, President of Santé Consulting of St. Louis, Missouri. Cornell has more than two decades of experience in recruiting pathologists for many of the nation’s leading laboratory companies. “This decade has seen a tremendous increase in opportunities within the anatomic pathology profession. New diagnostic technologies, particularly in oncology, are fueling steady increases in test utilization. That means more work for pathologists, particularly for those with subspecialty skills in molecular diagnostics.

“Two other factors contribute to this the current strong demand for skilled pathologists,” continued Cornell. “One is the impending retirement of the baby boomer generation. Pathology groups recognize the need to recruit pathologists to replace partners who are soon to retire. Second, there is a relative shortage of middle-aged pathologists in today’s market because of the reduced number of pathologists who graduated from medical schools during the 1990s-a time when managed care and other financial pressures made anatomic pathology less attractive.”

Another phenomenon that is reshaping the pathology profession is the growing number of pathologists who are employees. Traditionally, most pathology was performed in private practice settings, typically in community hospitals. “Over the past 15 years, many of the new job opportunities in pathology have been created by national pathology companies and specialized testing laboratories-particularly those with patent-protected or proprietary tests,” observed Cornell. “This is one trend that has deep roots and looks like it will continue for some time in the future.”

Cornell has advice for laboratories actively recruiting pathologists, as well as individual pathologists interested in finding their ideal practice setting and compensation package. “It is important to recognize that today’s supply-demand situation does not reward all pathologists equally,” he noted. “To negotiate a win-win package, both the hiring lab and the candidate pathologist should understand how each of these elements plays a role in the specific partner/employment opportunity being considered.

“First, consider compensation,” said Cornell. “Subspecialists generally can negotiate a higher compensation package than generalists. But there are differences even across the subspecialties in pathology. Also, it is important to recognize the advantages and disadvantages of private practice positions compared to employment positions. Younger pathologists, for example, are much more open to employment opportunities compared to the baby boomer pathologists when they were the same age.

“Second, productivity is now a key factor, more than it has ever been in the past,” explained Cornell. “Sustained downward pressure on reimbursement means that both lab companies and pathology practices are linking compensation ever more tightly to the productivity of the individual pathologist. This trend will intensify with each passing year.

Third, any pathology group or laboratory in the recruiting and hiring mode needs to be smart about the market demand for the particular pathology skills and experience they seek,” he stated. “I often see intense bidding for particularly productive, effective pathologists. That may be good for the candidate, but means the hiring group may end up paying more than it had budget for this position.

“This same advice applies to individual pathologists,” continued Cornell. “If you are looking for a position, you’ll negotiate a better position and compensation package if you understand who else is actively in the market looking for the same opportunities as you.”

Rich Cornell will share these, and other secrets, at the upcoming audio conference titled, “Emerging Trends in Pathologist Compensation, Productivity, and Job Prospects.” It will take place on February 18, 2009 at 1 PM EST, 12 PM, CST, 11 AM MST, 10 AM PST.

This is a high-value conference for both laboratories preparing to hire new pathologists and for pathologists entering the job market. Best of all, your entire laboratory team can listen with you to this important audio conference. Reserve your participation in this highly valuable audio conference by registering today at http://www.darkreport.com/Audio/2.18.09/Improve-Pathologist-Compensation.htm

HOW TO REGISTER:

1. Online

2. Call toll free: 800-560-6363

Registrations accepted until Wednesday, February 18, 2009, noon EST.

Cancellations before 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, February 16, 2009 may receive a full refund less a $25 service charge.

Your audio conference registration includes:

  • A site license to attend the conference (invite as many people as you can fit around your speakerphone at no extra charge)
  • Downloadable PowerPoint presentations from our speakers
  • A full transcript emailed to you soon after the conference
  • The opportunity to connect directly with our speakers during the audience Q&A session