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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

For physicians overall, intriguing trends showed up this year — an improvement in gender-based pay disparity in primary care; a growing disillusionment with Medicare payments, as a somewhat larger share of physicians declined to take new patients on Medicare; and a general increase in pay. More than 10,000 physicians in over 29 specialties, including pulmonary medicine, told us how much they earn, how hard they work, and how they feel about their income.

In this report, gender is based on how physicians self-identified in our survey.

Some totals in this presentation do not equal 100% because of rounding.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

In last year's report, pulmonologists' average income was $353,000.

The top-earning specialties are virtually unchanged in the past 10 years with the exception of plastic surgery, which began its rise toward the top around 2017.

For employed physicians, compensation figures include salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions. For self-employed physicians, they include earnings after taxes and deductible business expenses before income tax. Only full-time salaries were included in our results.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Specialties that are more involved with procedures continued to see more volume as the pandemic eased, which helped drive up their compensation. Still, Medicare cuts and somewhat stagnant reimbursement relative to the cost of practice dragged down the income of many physicians.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Since our 2015 report, average compensation that pulmonologists reported to us increased by about 28%. In some specialties, pulmonary medicine among them, average physician compensation dipped between our 2020 and 2021 reports (covering data from calendar years 2019 and 2020), when the COVID-19 pandemic began to batter the US economy.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Physician compensation overall has generally increased in recent years.

"Supply and demand is the biggest driver," says Mike Belkin, JD, divisional vice president at Merritt Hawkins, a physician recruitment firm. "Organizations understand it's not getting any easier to get good candidates, and so for the most part, physicians are getting good offers."

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

While pulmonologists' income rose overall, not all practitioners enjoyed an increase. Physicians in general who experienced a dip less often pointed to the pandemic, and more frequently blamed other factors, than in the prior year.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Among doctors overall, men this year earned 19% more on average than women — still a significant disparity, but the lowest gap in 5 years. For specialists generally, men earned 27% more on average than women, a slightly smaller gap than in our two previous reports.

"Due to efforts by many, some institutions and healthcare organizations have reviewed their salary lines and recognized the discrepancies, not only between the sexes but also between new hires, which can be offered significantly more than those more senior physicians who have been working there for years and hired under a different pay structure," says Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, president of the American Medical Women's Association, and professor of medicine at AU/UGA Medical Partnership, Athens, Georgia.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

In last year's report, 16% of pulmonologists pointed to competition from nonphysician practitioners, 4% to telemedicine, and 5% to "minute clinics" and big box stores.

Among physicians generally, nonphysician competitors were the largest source of competition.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Fifty-three percent pulmonologists said they take on additional work inside or outside the medical profession, a greater rate than in last year's report (38%).

Many physicians take side gigs to give life to their talents or get emotional relief from work, but others do so in order to bring in more money.

Physicians commented:

"I had to work three jobs at once for fear of my clinic closing."

"If I did not have income from two other medical businesses where I am the medical director, I would have to close my 100-patient solo practice."

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Pulmonologists were a bit below the middle of all specialties in terms of how often they feel fairly paid for their talents and time. In last year's report, they were a bit above the middle.

Some of the lower-paying specialties were among those that were more satisfied with their income.

"Often physicians with a high salary are part of a large organization, so there's probably some heartburn. They know what reimbursements are, but the organization takes a large part," Belkin says.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

In last year's report, 79% of pulmonologists answered yes to this question. Overall, 73% of physicians felt that way, compared with the 77% who said they'd choose medicine again 5 years ago.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Seventy-nine percent of pulmonologists said in last year's report that they would choose their specialty again if they had the chance.

In 10 specialties, 90% or more of their members said they would choose the same specialty, compared with eight specialties scoring that high last year. Some of the lower-earning specialties were less likely to have said they would stay in their same specialty if they had to do it over.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

For perspective, among all full-time physicians:

  • 19% see patients less than 30 hours each week.
  • 53% are with patients 30-40 hours per week.
  • 16% spend 41-50 hours with patients weekly.
  • 11% said they see patients 51 or more hours in an average week.
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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

In last year's report, pulmonologists' responses were:

  • 18%: Yes
  • 24%: No, I need all payers
  • 24%: No, it's inappropriate
  • 35%: No, for other reasons
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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

Among doctors generally, there's been a steady although slow decline in fee-for-service, which has been a stated goal for a long time. According to the APM Measurement Effort, most recently, 59.5% of healthcare payments from insurers were tied to value and quality, whereas 40.5% of payments came from fee-for-service models.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

These responses compare with the benefits that pulmonologists chose most often in last year's report, which were also 1) being good at their job and 2) patient relationships.

Some physician comments:

"Bringing new life into this world and happiness to the family!"

"Collaborating with patients on their journey to health and maintaining wellness."

"Knowing that I am doing something most days that makes a difference in the lives of others."

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

In last year's report, the job challenges that pulmonologists most often picked were 1) rules and regulations, 2) long hours at work, and 3) difficulties with insurers.

Challenges for physicians overall are abundant. Whereas many feel that these issues are manageable and deal with the difficulties, others make the decision to stop being a practicing physician. In 2021, 117,000 physicians left the workforce owing to retirement, burnout, and stressors related to COVID-19.

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

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Your Income vs Your Peers': Medscape Pulmonologist Compensation Report 2023

Mary Lyn Koval | May 24, 2023 | Contributor Information

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