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Medscape Intensivist 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 Intensivist 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 Intensivist 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.

Intensivists are among the middle earners of all physicians. Still, intensivist income is somewhat up from last year's average of $349,000.

(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 Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

More than half of physician respondents (56%) said they have an incentive bonus. Intensivists' average annual bonuses are 12% 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 Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

About two thirds of intensivists achieve more than three quarters of their potential annual incentive bonus. On average, intensivists achieve 71% of their potential bonus, similar to 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 Intensivist 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. Similarly for intensivists, 29% said their potential incentive bonus influenced them to increase their work hours.

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Male intensivists earn about 16% 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 Intensivist 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. This is less than the amount of time intensivists—both men and women—spend on face-to-face interactions.

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

On average, physicians overall spend 15.6 hours per week on paperwork and administration. 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 Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

At 20%, intensivists 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 Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Six in 10 intensivists said their practice uses nurse practitioners to treat patients. About one third said they use physician assistants, and a similar proportion said they don't employ either role for patient care. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Of intensivists who work with PAs and NPs at their offices, 35% said they helped increase profitability, while 55% said these employees have had no effect on profitability. Physicians overall who use PAs and NPs were evenly split (47% each) on whether these employees have increased profitability or have had no effect on it.

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Close to half of intensivists said they will continue taking Medicare and Medicaid patients, while the rest are undecided. Among physicians overall, 73% said have no plans to stop services to Medicare and Medicaid patients. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

The large majority of intensivists rely on payers. Close to one third rely on fee-for-service and a similar proportion on accountable care organizations for patient-based income. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

All responding intensivists 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 Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

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

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

For intensivists, having so many rules and regulations and working long hours are the primary challenges when caring for patients.

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Fifty-nine percent of intensivists said they felt fairly compensated, similar to last year's percentage (61%).

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

If they could go back in time, 81% of intensivists would still choose a career in medicine. This is about the same percentage as for physicians overall (77%).

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

Of intensivists who said they would choose medicine again, about three quarters said they would remain in the specialty—one of the lower proportions among physicians overall.

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Intensivist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Intensivist 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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