Survey: 3 factors that influence pay disparity among male and female physicians

Certain factors — including age and productivity — contribute to gender disparity in physician compensation, according to the 2017 Physician Compensation and Production Survey from the Medical Group Management Association.

The surveyed included responses from more than 120,000 providers across more than 6,600 medical groups, including physician- and hospital-owned practices, academic practices and providers of all sizes across the nation.

Here are three factors associated with the pay gap between male and female physicians, according to the survey.

1. Specialty. Males earn more than their female counterparts in all specialty areas, but the gap is wider among non-primary care physicians, the survey found. For example, males practicing primary care reported earning 17 percent higher total compensation than female primary care providers, while male specialists reported earning 37 percent more than females in the same specialty.

2. Experience. Number of years specializing may influence compensation, according to the survey, which found males earn more than 20 percent more than females in family medicine and general pediatrics, but have an average of seven years more experience. Because more females now graduate from medical school than males, ranks of female physicians early in their career are growing.

3. Productivity. Productivity is a significant determinant of physician compensation packages and also influences the disparity in total compensation between male and female physicians. For example, the survey found males in invasive-interventional cardiology make over 25 percent more than their female counterparts but have 42 percent greater median work RVUs. Male general orthopedic surgeons make almost 50 percent more than their female counterparts and have over 80 percent greater median work RVUs. The difference in RVUs may be due to the number of women in these specialty areas and how much experience they have, MGMA suggests.

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