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Annual Medscape Physician Compensation Report Shows Career Satisfaction Varies Greatly By Specialty

Stocks in this article: WBMD

NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD), the leading source of health information, today released its annual Medscape Physician Compensation Report for 2014, which provides an in-depth look at how compensation influences physician career considerations and practice. Medscape surveyed 24,000 physicians across 25 specialties about issues related to compensation and found significant differences in their responses based on gender, specialty and location. The report findings indicate that physicians' job satisfaction is influenced more by their choice of specialty than economic or other factors.

Medscape Physician Compensation Report: 2014 Physicians’ Salaries, What Impacts Their Bottom Line?

When physicians were asked, "If you had to do it over again, would you choose the same specialty," respondents who answered "yes" varied greatly by specialty:

  • Dermatology: 77%
  • Orthopedics: 64%
  • OB/GYN: 43%
  • Internal Medicine: 27%

"Compensation may not be the only reason that medicine has become a less attractive career choice than it once was," said Leslie Kane, Director, Business of Medicine for Medscape.  "Changes in the healthcare landscape, increased paperwork, more rules, less autonomy and legal woes are also having a major impact on physicians' career choices and overall satisfaction."

The Medscape survey also reports that overall, 25 percent of physicians are considering not accepting new Medicare and Medicaid patients. The report finds:

  • 53% say they are not sure whether they will participate in a health insurance exchange
  • 25% will drop insurers who pay poorly
  • 34% of physicians have now joined an Accountable Care Organization or plan to join one this year

As employers switch insurance plans frequently to reduce cost burden, coverage shifts may impact the physician/patient relationship. Physicians were asked: "Will you drop insurers that pay poorly?" Of those responding "yes," again, specialty type influenced response. The average for all physicians surveyed was 25 percent. By specialty: 

  • Endocrinologists: 31%
  • OB/GYN: 29%
  • Cardiologists: 25%
  • Pediatricians: 18%

"Between coverage and reimbursement concerns, physicians are often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the relationships they share with patients," said Kane.  "Many doctors refuse to drop patients for insurance-related issues, primarily because they care about their patients and consider it inappropriate," Kane added, "However, others realize that 'time is money', and have made the tough decision to drop patients in order to keep their practices viable."

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