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Medscape Rheumatologist 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 Rheumatologist 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 Rheumatologist 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.

Rheumatologists are among the lowest earners of all physicians. Still, rheumatologist income is slightly up from last year's average of $259,000.

(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 Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Male rheumatologists 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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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

At 17%, rheumatologists rank at the middle 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 Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Of rheumatologists who work with PAs and NPs at their offices, 52% said they helped increase profitability, while 40% 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 Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Seventy-four percent of rheumatologists 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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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

The majority of rheumatologists rely on payers. Four in 10 rely on fee-for-service and 3 in 10 on accountable care organizations for patient-based income. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

A far larger percentage of rheumatologists expect to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System option of value-based care versus alternative payment models.

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Medscape Rheumatologist 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. Among rheumatologists, being very good at what they do (27%), gratitude from and relationships with patients (25%), and making the world a better place (22%) are the top rewards.

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Fifty-five percent of rheumatologists said they felt fairly compensated, up somewhat from last year's percentage (49%).

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

If they could go back in time, 79% of rheumatologists would still choose a career in medicine. This is about the same percentage as for physicians overall (77%).

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

Of rheumatologists who said they would choose medicine again, 81% said they would remain in the specialty—around the middle of the pack compared to physicians overall.

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Rheumatologist Compensation Report 2020

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

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Medscape Rheumatologist 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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