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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians have been struggling through intense challenges caring for patients while trying to protect their own and their families' health and well-being.

Doctors' most critical concerns are those involving life and death. Still, while confronting this crisis, salary and income are important to one's career and livelihood.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

The health impact of COVID-19 has been grave, and the financial fallout is widespread.

Many physician offices have closed or have greatly reduced their hours. Hospitals, clinics, and large groups throughout the nation are laying off staff and cutting salaries. Specialties that relied upon elective procedures have lost much or most of their business. Those include, but are not limited to, orthopedics, plastic surgery, dermatology, cardiology, and ophthalmology.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

The data for this year's Compensation Report were collected prior to February 10, 2020, and reflect physician salary and income prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Physicians told us about their incentive bonuses, income, hours worked, greatest challenges, what gives them satisfaction, and more.

Survey respondents reported their compensation for patient care. For employed physicians, that includes salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions. For self-employed physicians, it includes earnings after taxes and deductible business expenses, before income tax. Only full-time salaries are included in our results. This report includes responses from more than 17,000 physicians in over 30 specialties.

Emergency medicine physicians are among the middle earners of all physicians. Still, EM physician income is somewhat up from last year's average of $353,000.

(Note: Label values on charts have been rounded, but rankings and calculations are based on raw data to avoid rounding errors.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

More than half of physician respondents (56%) said they have an incentive bonus. EM physicians' average annual bonuses are 11% of the average total salary for their specialty, similar to that of physicians overall (13%). (Results are shown only for specialties where sample sizes are sufficient.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Seventy percent of EM physicians achieve more than three quarters of their potential annual incentive bonus. On average, EM physicians achieve 74% of their potential bonus, a somewhat higher percentage than for physicians overall (67% ).

Michael Belkin, JD, divisional vice president at Merritt Hawkins, a national physician recruiting firm, said that most physicians don't earn their entire potential incentive bonus, partly due to the fact that employers are concerned with Stark Law prohibitions against self-referral and want to build in "safe harbor" provisions that protect them from possible penalty. As a result, they may cap the incentive that a physician can earn.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Close to one third of physicians overall who have incentive bonuses said the prospect of the bonus has encouraged them to work longer hours. Only 19% of EM physicians said their potential incentive bonus influenced them to increase their work hours.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Male EM physicians earn about 17% more than their female peers. Among all specialists, men earn 31% more than women, similar to last year's figure of 33%. There is a 25% gender pay gap among primary care physicians, the same as in last year's report.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Among all physicians, the average time spent seeing patients is 37.9 hours per week.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

On average, EM physicians spend 12.8 hours per week on paperwork and administration, less than do physicians overall (15.6 hours). Intensivists top the list regarding such tasks, followed by internists, infectious disease physicians, and physiatrists. Ophthalmologists and anesthesiologists reported the least amount of time. (Results are shown only for specialties where sample sizes are sufficient.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

At 22%, EM physicians rank at the upper end of physicians potentially losing money on denied or resubmitted claims. One study found that, on average, 63% of denied claims are recoverable, but healthcare professionals spend about $118 per claim on appeals. (Results are shown only for specialties where sample sizes are sufficient.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

About three quarters of EM physicians said they use physician assistants to treat patients, and 65% said they use nurse practitioners. Close to one fifth said they don't employ either role for patient care. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

EM physicians who use PAs and NPs were evenly split (46% each) on whether these employees have increased profitability or have had no effect on it. Physicians overall said almost the same (47% each).

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

The large majority of EM physicians have no plans to stop services to Medicare and Medicaid patients, somewhat more than the percentage of physicians overall (73%). (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

The majority of EM physicians rely on payers. Thirty-eight percent rely on fee-for-service and 22% on accountable care organizations for patient-based income. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Forty-three percent of responding EM physicians expect to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System option of value-based care versus none for alternative payment models.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

About a quarter of physicians overall (27%) noted gratitude from and relationships with patients as the main factor for their career satisfaction. Among EM physicians, being very good at what they do is the top factor, followed by making the world a better place and making good money at their job.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

For EM physicians, having so many rules and regulations and dealing with difficult patients are the top challenges in their demanding profession.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Sixty-seven percent of EM physicians said they felt fairly compensated, similar to last year's percentage (68%).

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

If they could go back in time, 77% of EM physicians would still choose a career in medicine, the same percentage as for physicians overall.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

Of EM physicians who said they would choose medicine again, 80% said they would remain in the specialty—around the middle of the pack compared to physicians overall.

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report 2020

Keith L. Martin | May 20, 2020 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2020

More than 17,000 physicians told us about their salary, incentive bonus, and denied claims, and how they feel about their career in medicine.Medscape Features Slideshow, May 2020
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