Ob/Gyn Pay Rises 3%; Only Half Feel Fairly Compensated

Marcia Frellick

April 13, 2017

In terms of compensation, obstetricians/gynecologists (ob/gyns) were slightly below the median among all specialties, at $286,000, according to the latest Medscape Compensation Report. At the top were orthopedists, who made $489,000, whereas pediatricians made the least, at $202,000.

The report found that ob/gyns had a 3% increase over 2016, which is on the low end of the specialties, with plastic surgeons reporting the largest gain, at 24%, and pediatricians reporting a 1% drop in income.

For employed physicians, compensation includes salary, bonus, and profit sharing. For partners, it includes earnings after taxes and deductible business expenses before income tax.

Among ob/gyns, the gender gap varies by race. Men dominated the field only among Hispanics (60% men vs 40% women). The percentages of male ob/gyns in other races were 22% among African American, 31% among Asians, and 47% among Caucasians.

However, the gender pay gap persists for all ob/gyns, with men making 13% more than women ($306,000 vs $270,000).

Only 48% of ob/gyns felt fairly compensated, which was among the lowest for any specialty in the survey. Emergency medicine had the highest satisfaction rates, at 68%, and nephrology had the lowest, at 41%.

This year, physicians not satisfied with pay were asked how much more they should make. Among ob/gyns, 41% answered 11% to 25% more, 34% said 26% to 50% more, 11% said 51% to 75% more, and 10% said at least 76% more.

Ob/gyns were also second-highest among all physicians for burnout percentages, according to this year's Medscape Lifestyle Report. More than half (56%) reported burnout; only emergency medicine was higher, at 59%.

Paperwork and administrative tasks are a main driver of burnout, and physicians sometime trade that burden for a lower salary when they become employed. Employed ob/gyns earned $276,000 compared with their self-employed counterparts at $300,000.

Compensation varied greatly by region. Highest pay for ob/gyns was in the North Central region, at $339,000, and lowest was in the Northwest, at $260,000.

However, the survey showed that pay is third on the list of what ob/gyns find rewarding: only 12% said that was the most rewarding aspect of their job. Topping that list was the gratitude from and relationships with patients (41%), followed by "being very good at what I do" (26%).

Asked whether they would choose medicine again, 72% said they would, the second-lowest percentage (above neurology at 71%) among physicians. Slightly more (76%) said they would choose their specialty again.

The report showed few ob/gyns of either sex work part time: just 14% of women and 10% of men. Among all physicians, 22% of women and 10% of men report working part time.

Physicians overall reported a large increase this year in numbers who planned to participate in healthcare exchanges (37%, up from 19% in 2016).The increase was also striking among ob/gyns, 45% of whom said they would participate, up from 24% last year. Twenty percent said they would not participate, and the rest were undecided.

Many more this year said they had seen an influx in patients from the Affordable Care Act: 44% answered yes this year, up from 36% who answered yes last year.

Medscape Ob/Gyn Compensation Report 2017. Published online April 12, 2017. Full text

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