The Medscape compensation survey 2016 witnessed the responses of emergency medicine (EM) physicians with regards to their compensation, hours of work on a weekly basis, the time spent with each patient, the ways in which healthcare reforms affected their practice, the rewarding parts about their jobs, etc.
For patient-care compensation for employed physicians, which includes profit-sharing contributions, bonus and salary, there exists a wide range of earnings in various specialties. While orthopedists and cardiologists (including surgical sub-specialists) topped the list with an annual compensation of $443,000 and $410,000 respectively in 2016 (higher than $421,000 and $376,000 as per last year’s compensation report), EM physicians were somewhere in the mid range with compensations of $322,000 on a yearly basis. A 5% increase in income was in the offing for EM physicians – with the highest earnings being reported in the Southwest ($355,000), Southeast ($360,000) and South Central region ($371,000) – while internists experienced a whopping 12% increase. However, practitioners of pulmonology and allergy/immunology experienced a decrease in their income (-5% and -11% respectively).
EM physicians in and healthcare organizations ($327,000) and hospitals($329,000) enjoyed the highest income. Overall, male EM physicians notched $332,000 while their female peers made $279,000 this year ($53,000 less) for full-time positions. The earnings for self-employed EM physicians (female) were $317,000, which was 85% of that of men ($371,000). It’s notable that being self-employed or employed had no role to play in this gender disparity with relation to salary.
60% of EM physicians are satisfied with their earnings and feel fairly compensated. Since
2012, the other physicians who felt duly compensated are dermatologists (66%), pathologists (63%) urologists (42%), and allergists/endocrinologists (both 43%). This year’s report showed that the physicians who earned more believed that they were fairly paid, rather than those who did not match up with them. Over 52% of employed EM physicians (male) and 63% of their female counterparts believed that they are compensated fairly, as compared to 24% and 17% of self-employed EM physicians (male and female respectively).
In the 2016 Medscape report, EM physicians (66%) preferred to choose medicine, but a lesser number (44%) wanted to select their own specialty; these figures were close to the survey results of 2011. Concierge and cash-only practices failed to serve as significant payment models despite a lot of attention being given to these fields.
Over 55% EM physicians have been positively impacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has paved the way for a large influx of patients. A year after the implementation of this Act, the physicians who believed that the quality of care provided had worsened, 18% reported no increase in patient load while 21% had higher loads. As far as the physicians whose patient load had increased are concerned, 78% felt that the quality was the same or improved; with 82% of physicians who experienced no increase showcasing the same experiences.
In the current Medscape report, 11% EM physicians said that it was inappropriate to drop insurers that paid poorly, while the question did not apply to the remaining ones. As per the report conducted in 2014, more than 58% of physicians had received $100 or less for new-patient office visits by their private insurers.
The report also stated that 67% of EM physicians spent 30-45 hours on a weekly basis seeing patients with only 19% spending more than that. It was also observed that middle-aged physicians worked harder than their older and younger peers. According to the results of the current year’s Medscape Lifestyle Report, spending many hours at work and bureaucratic tasks happened to be the primary causes of burnout in physicians.
It’s unclear how the income of physicians is affected by ACA as many variables have a role to play in the ultimate results. When asked about how their income was affected, 72% of EM physicians who participated in last year’s health insurance exchanges reported no changes while 7% acknowledged that it had increased; and 21% experienced a decrease.
- Peckham, C. (2016, April 1). Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016, from MedScape: http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2016/public/overview