Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – According to the latest Medscape report on Physician compensation from data collected from Oct. 6, 2020, through Feb. 11, 2021, several specialties have seen a change in income and patient levels, indicating a potential recovery in the waning aftermath of the pandemic.
The specialty that saw the highest increase in compensation was plastic surgery at increase of 10 percent. The report speculates that the increase could be partially due to patients becoming more critical of their appearance after increased participation in video meetings and seeing themselves on screen.
Oncology came in second at a 7 percent increase. While elective surgeries and office visits were halted for many specialties in 2020, for the most part, cancer care continued as normal for those cases that were already diagnosed.
Rheumatology and cardiology came in third at a 5 percent increase, while diabetes and endocrinology saw a 4 percent increase. Surprisingly, even with the increase in telemedicine for mental health, psychiatry only saw a 3 percent increase, along with neurology and critical care.
One of the top reasons for telehealth visits in the southeast has been acute respiratory diseases and infections. However, according to the Medscape report, otolaryngology, and allergy and immunology saw the largest reduction in compensation at a 9 percent decrease. Pediatrics and anesthesiology also saw a reduction of 5 percent, followed by dermatology at 4 percent, and pulmonary, physical medicine, gastroenterology, and radiology all saw a 3 percent decrease.
Emergency medicine and internal medicine only experienced a 1 percent decrease. The specialties that had no change in compensation included family medicine, ophthalmology, orthopedics, infectious diseases, and pathology.
Around 13 percent of the physicians polled stated they had zero income for a month or more with the average being 3 months. Thirteen percent of the providers polled stated that they struggled financially with zero income.
While 92 percent of the physicians attributed COVID-19 to the reduction in income, some physicians did mention other reasons such as relocation and gaining more free time as a contributor to the reduced compensation. Overall, 45 percent of the physicians stated that the pandemic did not have detrimental effects on their finances or their practice.
Specialists seem to have the advantage in recovering financially as 65 percent stated their hours had been restored, compared to 58 percent of primary care. Thirty-two percent of specialists stated that their pay had been restored, while 28 percent of primary care has returned to normal pay. Thirty percent of primary care providers stated that neither their hours or pay had been restored to pre-pandemic levels, compared to 26 percent of specialists.
The full presentation appears on the Medscape website.