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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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.

Physiatrists are below the middle earners of all physicians. Their income is about the same as last year's average of $306,000 for their specialty.

(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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Male physiatrists earn about 20% 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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

At 19%, physiatrists rank toward 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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Close to a third of physiatrists said their practice uses physician assistants to treat patients, while a full third said they use nurse practitioners. About half said they don't employ either role for patient care. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Of physiatrists who work with PAs and NPs at their offices, 58% said they helped increase profitability, while about a third 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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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Seventy-two percent of physiatrists have no plans to stop services to Medicare and Medicaid patients, about the same as for physicians overall (73%). (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

The majority of physiatrists rely on payers. Four in 10 rely on fee-for-service and about a fifth on accountable care organizations for patient-based income. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Nearly 4 in 10 physiatrists expect to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System option of value-based care versus only 4% for alternative payment models.

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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. Closer to a third (30%) of physiatrists said the same. About a quarter (27%) cited making the world a better place and 22% said being very good at what they do is their top reward.

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

For physiatrists, having so many rules and regulations is the primary challenge when caring for patients. Difficulty getting fair reimbursement is also seen as a contributor to a demanding profession.

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Sixty percent of physiatrists said they felt fairly compensated, up from last year's percentage (50%).

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

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

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

Of physiatrists who said they would choose medicine again, 77% said they would remain in the specialty—one of the lower proportions among physicians overall.

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

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Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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

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Related Content on Medscape

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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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