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Obamacare 101: It Pays To Be A Family Doctor In Texas


If you want job security and a good salary, investing in putting an “M” and a “D” in front of your name is a pretty solid way to go. Today there is unprecedented demand for MD’s, or family physicians, in Texas and across the U.S., according to anew study led by Irving-based consulting firm Merritt Hawkins.



There will be millions of newly-insured patients seeking primary care starting in 2014, and hospitals, large medical groups, urgent care centers, retail clinics, free-standing emergency departments, and community health centers are all trying to stock up on family care doctors.

That means recruiting, and offering incentives in the form of nice, hefty paychecks.

The average salary for a family physician in Texas is $194,000, compared to the national average of $185,000. The discrepancy, according to Phil Miller of Merritt Hawkins, is a result of Texas’ high need for doctors in rural areas, which have to offer more to attract doctors than urban areas typically do.

Another driver behind the family doctor demand is their perceived role as the “quarterbacks” of the healthcare team, according to Merritt Hawkins president Mark Smith. And while no family doctor (that I know of at least) is raking in $40 million, like quarterback Drew Brees, they are expected to coordinate plays among physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other specialists.

[More From KERA News: Obamacare 101: Medical Home One-Stop-Shop For Medical Care]

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.