Gender gap persists in physician pay, survey finds

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A gender gap persists when it comes to doctor salaries.

There’s still a gap when it comes to earnings of male and female doctors, according to a new survey.

Male doctors have a mean income of $270,000 per year, making $66,000 more than their female counterparts, who earn an average of $204,000 annually, according to the 88th annual Medical Economics Physician Report.

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A similar gender gap was found in a salary survey released earlier this month. The survey found male physicians ages 55-69 make 27% higher salaries than women. It also found African-American doctors earn 15% less than their white colleagues (an average salary of $262,000 versus $303,000), and approximately half of them believe they are being unfairly compensated.

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There’s also a wide gap depending on a physician’s specialty, according to the latest report on the state of primary care, physician income, productivity and malpractice costs.

The findings reflect a sense of ambivalence among many primary care physicians about their jobs. It's "born in large part from frustration with the mountains of paperwork and seemingly endless government mandates and reporting requirements that eat up ever larger chunks of their time,” the report said.

Cardiologists have the greatest income, averaging $460,000 annually, the report found. On the other end of the spectrum were psychiatrists who averaged $199,000.

There were also the usual differences in salary based on region. Doctors in the northeast made the most with average salaries of $262,000 versus those in the west who earned an average of $237,000.

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Doctors see an average of 82 patients each day and work an average of 52 hours per week, a slight increase in work hours from 2014 figures. When it comes to a change in malpractice premiums for 2016, 52% of doctors said the cost remained the same compared to the previous year, while only 1% reported an increase and 6% saw a decrease.

Physician ambivalence reflects the sentiments of Johns Hopkins economist Steve H. Hanke that regulatory burdens on doctors—including paperwork and time with electronic healthcare costs—increase costs and hurt care quality.

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