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Medscape Pathologist 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 Pathologist 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 Pathologist 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.

Pathologists are below the middle earners of all physicians. Still, pathologist income is up from last year's average of $308,000.

(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 Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

More than half of physician respondents (56%) said they have an incentive bonus. Pathologists' average annual bonuses are 15% 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 Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

About 71% percent of pathologists achieve more than three quarters of their potential annual incentive bonus. On average, pathologists achieve around 75% 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 Pathologist 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 pathologists, 31% said their potential incentive bonus influenced them to increase their work hours.

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Male pathologists earn about 19% 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 Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Forty-four percent of pathologists said they use physician assistants to treat patients, while only 7% said they use nurse practitioners. A bit more than half said they don't employ either role for patient care. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Pathologists who work with PAs and NPs at their offices were evenly split (50% each) on whether these employees helped increase profitability or had no effect on profitability. Physicians overall who use PAs and NPs were similarly split (47% each, increased profitability versus no effect), although 6% said these employees decreased profitability.

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

All responding pathologists plan to continue services to Medicare and Medicaid patients. Among physicians overall, 73% plan to continue taking new and current Medicare and Medicaid patients. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

The majority of pathologists rely on payers. Thirty-nine percent rely on fee-for-service and 23% on accountable care organizations for patient-based income. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

About half of responding pathologists 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 Pathologist 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. For pathologists, finding answers and making diagnoses is the top reward.

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

For pathologists, having so many rules and regulations is the primary challenge when caring for patients. Long work hours are also seen as a contributor to a demanding profession. Nearly a quarter of pathologists mentioned other challenges to their daily work, with some noting workplace politics.

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Sixty-two percent of pathologists said they felt fairly compensated, similar to last year's percentage (66%).

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

If they could go back in time, 76% of pathologists would still choose a career in medicine. This is about the same percentage as for physicians overall (77%).

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Of pathologists 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 Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Pathologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2020

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