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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Many physicians' offices closed temporarily or saw fewer patients in 2020 due to COVID-19, making it a worrisome year for physician compensation, on top of concerns about the well-being of both patients and providers. Psychiatrists' practices were not immune. While the worst business days are over for some physicians, others still struggle to recover.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Although 22% of psychiatrists reported some decline in compensation, average psychiatrist income grew somewhat from $268,000 in 2019 to $275,000 in 2020. Average income for physicians overall varied little from 2019 to 2020, despite the hardships brought by COVID-19.

Almost 18,000 physicians in over 29 specialties told us about their income, bonuses, hours worked, greatest challenges, and the surprising impact of COVID on their compensation. 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 were included in our results.

Some totals in this presentation do not equal 100% due to rounding.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

The large majority of psychiatrists who saw a drop in income cited COVID-19–related issues such as job loss, fewer hours, and fewer patients. Twenty-eight percent pointed to non–COVID-related factors. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Physicians' incentive bonuses are usually based on productivity but can also be tied to patient satisfaction, clinical processes, or other goals. Our prior year's report showed that the average payment among psychiatrists who received a bonus was 10% of total salary, about the same percentage as this year's (9%). (Results are shown only for specialties with sufficient sample sizes.)

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Fifty-seven percent of psychiatrists who earn an incentive bonus achieve more than three quarters of their potential annual payment, a bit down from the prior year (66%). On average, psychiatrists achieve close to two thirds of their potential bonus, about the same proportion as do physicians overall.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Forty-one percent of psychiatrists who suffered financial or practice-related ill effects due to the pandemic expect their income to return to normal this year. Nearly the same percentage believe it will take 2 to 3 years. Eighty-three percent of such physicians overall anticipate a return to pre-COVID income levels within a couple of years. Notably, 45% of physicians overall said the pandemic did not cause them financial or practice-related harm.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Among psychiatrists, men earn about 20% more on average than women. Income disparities persist between genders among physicians overall. Men in primary care earn 27% more than women, similar to the prior year, which showed men earning 25% more. Male specialists earn 33% more, similar to results in both 2020 (31%) and 2019 (33%).

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

On average among psychiatrists, self-employment brings in higher income than does being employed. This is also the case among physicians overall, for whom self-employment brings an average $352,000 in annual earnings while being employed commands an average income of $300,000.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Psychiatrist respondents reported how much time they spent on medical-related work outside of patient visits, including time devoted to paperwork, EHR documentation, administrative and managerial work, participation in professional organizations, and clinical reading. This year's average is similar to last year's (15.9 hours per week). Physicians overall spend an average of 16.3 hours per week on such tasks.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Physician work hours generally declined for at least some time during the pandemic, and some physicians were even furloughed. But like most physicians, psychiatrists are back to working about the same number of hours they did prior to COVID-19. Perhaps not surprising, intensivists, infectious disease physicians, and public health and preventive medicine physicians are pulling longer hours now, about 6 or 7 more per week than before.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

While physicians who see patients generally are working about the same number of hours per week that they did pre-pandemic, they are typically seeing fewer patients due to time spent on medical office safety protocols, answering questions around COVID-19, and other factors. Pediatricians are experiencing one of the largest average declines (78 patients per week prior vs 64 now — down about 18%), followed by dermatologists, orthopedists, and otolaryngologists (each down about 15%). Psychiatrists are seeing about the same number of patients now as they did before.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Among self-employed psychiatrists, 21% believe that a drop in patient volume of up to a quarter is permanent.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

A majority of physicians overall plan to keep taking Medicare and/or Medicaid patients. However, about 6 in 10 psychiatrists will stop treating at least some of the patients they have and not take new ones, or are yet undecided. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

One tenth of psychiatrist respondents were planning to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2021; about a third had yet to decide. "The stakes for the Quality Payment Program — the program that incorporates MIPS — are high, with a 9% penalty applied to all Medicare reimbursement for failure to participate," says Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, CPC, president of physician practice consulting firm Woodcock & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. "With margins already slim, most physicians can't afford this massive penalty. It makes sense to protect your revenue by complying with — at least — the bare minimum." (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Two thirds of psychiatrists said they feel fairly compensated, about the same proportion as in last year's report. Nearly 8 in 10 oncologists feel that they are fairly compensated, up from 67% last year — putting them at the top of the list again. Plastic surgeons' attitudes saw the largest positive change (68%, up from 55% last year) while otolaryngologists' slid the furthest (57%, down from 66%).

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Despite professional challenges, most physicians find their work rewarding. One third of psychiatrists pointed to making the world a better place as their main source of career satisfaction.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

Rules and regulations continue to bog down physicians' daily work — 23% of respondents from across the profession said this is their biggest challenge. Twenty-six percent of psychiatrists agreed, while 23% said dealing with difficult patients is the most challenging aspect.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

If they had a choice, 84% of psychiatrists would pick medicine again, a somewhat greater percentage than physicians overall (78%). Despite the shock, safety issues, stress, and grief wrought by the pandemic, this is much like the prior year (81% of psychiatrists and 77% of all physicians). In our 2013 Compensation Report, with almost 22,000 physician respondents, only 51% of physicians said they would choose medicine again as their career.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

As they were in last year's report, dermatology, orthopedics, oncology, and ophthalmology are among the top of the list. Psychiatry has slid a bit closer to the middle. Family medicine and internal medicine are typically toward the bottom, as they are again this year.

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

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Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2021

Keith L. Martin | May 14, 2021 | Contributor Information

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