Survey: Majority of U.S. physicians report pay cuts due to COVID-19

The majority of U.S. doctors say they've seen a reduction in how much they're getting paid during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Medscape. 

The report on the physician experience during COVID-19 was the result of a survey of more than 7,400 physicians in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico on the impact of COVID-19 on their personal and professional lives.

Sixty-two percent of U.S. doctors said their income had dropped during COVID-19 compared to 31% of doctors in Spain, 41% of doctors in France and 63% of doctors in Brazil.

Overall, nearly a quarter of U.S. doctors who responded to the survey indicated they'd seen their income drop by 50% or more during the pandemic. 

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The survey also found indicators of increased stress and loneliness among doctors during the pandemic. 

Those results include:

  • Nearly 65% of U.S. physicians said their burnout had gotten more intense during the pandemic, while 6% said their burnout had gotten less intense and 30% said there had been no change.
  • The pandemic has been a mixed bag for doctor's health. Just over a third of doctors say they are exercising more while 31% said they are exercising less during COVID-19. However, 29% say they are eating more than they did before COVID-19. Meanwhile, the survey saw an even split with 19% of doctors saying they are drinking more during COVID-19 and 19% saying they are drinking less during the pandemic. And 20% said they were using prescription stimulants or medications less during the pandemic compared to 2% who said they were using them more.
  • Nearly half (46%) of U.S. physicians said they were more lonely during the pandemic while only 32% of Germans said the same. Doctors in other countries such as Portugal found more doctors saying they were lonelier during the pandemic (51%).