Usually, a few paragraphs of ridicule, just to set the reader up, are warranted. I’m…
What We Make by Pat Conrad MD
Medscape has published its 2015 Physician Compensation Report, reporting on 19,500 doctors in 26 specialties.
- -The average primary care doctor made $195,000; the average specialist made $284,000.
- “Orthopedists, of whom just 9% are women, were the highest earners.” Gotta love the author inserting snarky gender whining.
- “Those who perform procedures have the highest incomes compared with those who manage chronic illnesses.” A perfect invitation to the “quality” movement to make it all more fair.
- “Most doctors saw their earnings rise since 2013… family physicians earned 10% more.” You can color me skeptical on that last bit. Did that include one-time EHR reimbursements, or 1% will-o-the-wisp quality measure reporting participation payments?
- “This year’s survey found that average salaries were highest in North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming and lowest in the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Maryland.” Did they average in all the D.C. lobby docs working for the AMA and AAFP?
- Whether doctors think they are compensated fairly varies by specialty. Dermatologists (average salary: $339,000) were happy; ophthalmologists (average salary: $292,000) were not.
- “Less than a third of primary-care physicians said they would choose their specialty again if they had the chance for a do-over. Still, most would not change their decision to become doctors.” Based on my completely unscientific assessment of the statements from colleagues, I’m very skeptical of this second point.
- “In fact, doctors with some of the lowest earnings were the most likely to say they would choose medicine as a career if they had to do it all over again. About 70% of physicians in internal medicine and family medicine would choose medicine all over again, compared with just 50% of high-earning orthopedists.” Now I’m really skeptical.
- “Overall, only about 9% of all surveyed doctors said “making good money” was the most rewarding part of the job. Instead, they cited things like “being very good at what I do,” “finding answers and diagnoses,” and “gratitude/relationships with patients.”” Physicians suffer daily new assaults on their autonomy, their character, and their economic sustainability, and the vast majority never see massive hedge fund, cronyism profits (again, not counting the Dr. Oz or the AMA, et al). I think this 9% is a huge lowball skewed by social desirability response bias, and now I’m calling bullshit.