Physician Compensation Slowed in 2020


Research from a Doximity survey shows physician wages have grown by only 1.5% amid COVID-19 pandemic, and gender pay gap among doctors persists at 28%.

Research from Doximity, the professional medical network, was recently released from its fourth annual Physician Compensation Report; sharing compensation for U.S. doctors grew 1.5% on average between 2019 and 2020.

The study is based on responses from 44,000 licensed U.S. doctors, making it one of the largest repositories of data available on physician compensation to date.

When compared against the 2019 headline inflation rate of 2.3% as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), physicians on average experienced a decline in real income over the calendar year.

“This year’s report shows how significantly the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the healthcare industry,” explains Peter Alperin, MD, Vice President at Doximity, in a release. “By continuing to track this data over a multi-year timeframe, our hope is to assist key stakeholders in understanding employment trends taking shape in the healthcare system.”

In addition, the study finds the gender wage gap was 28% this year, which is an increase from last year’s study, which found the gap to be 25.2%. Female doctors currently earn on average $116,289 less than their male counterparts.

Additional key findings from the report include:

The Top Five U.S. Metros with the Highest Average Compensation

  1. Milwaukee, WI ($430,274)
  2. Atlanta, GA ($428,244)
  3. Jacksonville, FL ($427,090)
  4. Buffalo, NY ($407,070)
  5. Orlando, FL ($406,587)

The Top Five Specialties with the Largest Increase in Annual Compensation

  1. Vascular Surgery (4.9% growth)
  2. Physical Medicine/Rehab (4.7%)
  3. Geriatrics (4.6%)
  4. Genetics (4.4%)
  5. Emergency Medicine (4.3%)

U.S. Metros Where Female Physicians are Paid the Most:

  1. Milwaukee, WI ($363,717)
  2. Minneapolis, MN ($354,160)
  3. Jacksonville, FL ($350,418)
  4. Birmingham, AL($334,327)
  5. Cincinnati, OH ($334,208)

Medical specialties with the largest wage gaps between men and women in 2020

  1. Otolaryngology (-22.1%)
  2. Geriatrics (-21.4%)
  3. Orthopaedic Surgery (-20.0%)
  4. Research (-19.8%)
  5. Obstetrics & Gynecology (-19.6%)

“Provider revenue has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with reductions in medical procedures and treatments. In this environment, physician compensation grew nominally in 2020 compared to previous years,” says Christopher Whaley, Ph.D., lead author of the study and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

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