It may be strange to write about bad physiatry job prospects as the current PM&R job market favors physiatry job applicants.  There is definitely a shortage of physiatrists.  However, not all physiatry job markets offer equal opportunities.

Strong Competition in Metropolitan Areas

picture of nyc in blog about physiatry job market

Metropolitan areas present a different set of hurdles for physiatrists. Most physiatry job candidates favor big cities.  Therefore, there is more competition for jobs in big cities.   With the large number of physiatrists in metro areas, it leads to more competition for patients.  There are several negative factors in big cities.  The high cost of living in cities affects how much a physiatrist will ultimately earn.  Some of the metro areas are in states with high income taxes which also cuts into the physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor’s ultimate income.  Some metro areas have closed health referral networks.  Unless you’re in the major health referral network in the area, your source of referrals is limited.

Varying Job Market in Rural Areas

picture of mountains in blog about physiatry job market in rural areas

For the few of you with an interest in rural areas, one challenge may be finding a PM&R practice opportunity in a small town.  The patient population in rural areas may not be sufficient to sustain a thriving practice.  Many practice opportunities in rural areas offer very competitive compensation particularly among big health care systems.  On the other hand, it may be difficult to find a competitive wage in a rural area because the demographics are such that income is less and hence salaries are less.   Limited resources, including the availability of referral physicians, nursing staff and ancillary services can also significantly hinder the job environment for physiatrists.

Reimbursement Issues

blog article about physiatry reimbursement

Beyond geographic considerations, reimbursement issues can impact job prospects nationwide. Reimbursement for spinal procedures in some areas has decreased over time and insurances may not recognize the procedures.  Job opportunities may dwindle as healthcare organizations prioritize specialties with higher reimbursement rates, leaving physiatrists grappling with financial uncertainties and limited career options.

Three Ways to Navigate the Physiatry Job Market Challenges

Despite the less than ideal outlook in certain job markets, aspiring physiatrists need not despair. Strategic planning and proactive measures can help mitigate the challenges associated with less favorable job prospects in physiatry.

  1. Diversification of Skills: Rather than focusing on a particular aspect of physiatry, it may be advisable to be able to provide a broad range of services. If reimbursements decrease in a particular field of physiatry, then you can divert to other services.
  2. Flexibility and Adaptability: Flexibility in practice settings can open doors to unforeseen job prospects. Adapting to evolving healthcare trends are essential for navigating the ever-changing landscape of physiatry employment.
  3. Networking and Advocacy: Building professional connections within the healthcare community and advocating for the value of physiatry are vital steps in overcoming job market obstacles. Active involvement in medical organizations, participation in advocacy initiatives, and collaboration with allied healthcare professionals can raise awareness about the critical role of physiatrists in patient care, potentially generating new job opportunities and partnerships.

“Thank you for all your help. If I ever require a new position I will reach out to you.”  Recent comment from a physiatrist to Farr Healthcare, Inc.