The Air Force Medical Corps' Status and How Its Physicians Respond to Multiyear Special Pay

Published In: Military Medicine, v. 174, no. 11, Nov. 2009, p. 1155-1162

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Edward G. Keating, Marygail K. Brauner, Lionel A. Galway, Judith D. Mele, James J. Burks, Brendan Saloner

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The United States Air Force's Medical Corps has declined in size in recent years. Although the medical corps' attrition rate has been near historic lows, the trend in medical corps accessions dating back to the early 1990s has been negative. Multiyear special pay (MSP) provides supplemental annual payments to qualifying physicians who make 2-, 3-, or 4-year commitments to additional service. Our analysis shows the majority of eligible physicians have refused MSP, but there have been increases in MSP acceptance rates as MSP levels have increased. Physicians who receive residency training at military medical centers are much more likely to accept MSP than those who receive residency training at civilian medical centers. While further MSP increases might yet further reduce medical corps attrition, the corps will grow increasingly senior unless accessions are increased.

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