Troubling Disparity Between Male, Female Physician Pay

HealthDay News — Female physicians in the US make much less than their male colleagues, according to a study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Researchers examined more than 3 million Medicare reimbursement claims received by doctors in 13 medical specialties in 2012. Overall, they found that female doctors received $34,126 less than male doctors. After adjusting for working hours, productivity, and years of experience, they discovered that female doctors were reimbursed $18,677 less than their male colleagues.

The researchers also found that the largest gender gaps were in nephrology ($16,689) and rheumatology ($15,405). The narrowest gaps were in hematology ($10,115), critical care ($4,360), and medical oncology ($3,971).

Tejas Desai, MD, of the division of nephrology at the WG (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, N.C., and colleagues said their study does not explain why female doctors get paid less than males. But, they noted in a journal news release, the findings show that “the commonly held theories of why monetary disparities exist need to be revisited.”

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Desai T, Ali S, Fang X, Thompson W, Jawa P, Vachharajani T. Equal work for unequal pay: the gender reimbursement gap for healthcare providers in the United States. Postgrad Med J. 2016; doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2016-134094.