Ob/Gyn Pay Up Slightly During Pandemic, Survey Finds

Jaleesa Baulkman

May 17, 2021

Although 45% of ob/gyns reported some decline in compensation during the pandemic, they earned more income in 2020 than they did in 2019, according to the 2021 Medscape Ob/Gyn Compensation Report.

The report, which surveyed nearly 18,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties, found that ob/gyns' income level was $312,000 in 2020 compared with $308,000 in 2019.

Despite the $4,000 increase, they still ranked near the bottom half in comparison with all other specialties. The lowest paid specialties were public health & preventive medicine ($237,000), family medicine ($236,000), and pediatrics ($221,000), and the top earning specialties were plastic surgery ($526,000), orthopedics ($511,000), and cardiology ($459,000).

Optimistic About Financial Bounce Back

Most ob/gyns who experienced income loss cited job loss, reduction in hours, and lower patient volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for their wage decline.

The specialty's average incentive bonus, which is usually based on productivity and can be tied to patient satisfaction and clinical processes, was $48,000, and accounted for about 14% of total salary.

Of the ob/gyns who reported financial losses during the pandemic, 41% expect their income to return to normal this year. However, 45% believe it will take 2 to 3 years to bounce back from the pandemic's financial effect. About 11% believe they will never return to their pre-COVID-19 income.

Working Similar Hours, Seeing Fewer Patients

The survey also found that ob/gyns are back to working about the same number of hours they did pre-pandemic. Ob/gyns currently work on average 54 hours per week compared to the 56 hours per week they worked before the pandemic. However, they are only seeing 76 patients per week compared with 81 patients per week before the pandemic.

Ob/gyns reported spending 15.1 hours per week on medical-related work outside of patient visits, including paperwork, EHR documentation, administrative and managerial work, and clinical reading. The time required was slightly longer than last year (14.3 hours per week).

Similar to last year's report, 55% of ob/gyns said they are fairly compensated. Around 34% of them said the most rewarding part of their job is the relationships they have with their patients, followed by helping others (23%), and being good at what they do (22%). Only 11% said money was the most rewarding part of their job.

Challenges

The pandemic has brought many challenges for physicians, including financial difficulties and the potential to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2. However, when asked about the most challenging part of their job, only 4% of ob/gyns said the danger or risk associated with treating patients with COVID-19 was the most challenging aspect of their job. By contrast, 21% of ob/gyns said working long hours and having so many rules and regulations bog down their daily work.

Despite the pandemic-related challenges, 74% of ob/gyns said they would choose medicine again and work in the same specialty.

Jaleesa Baulkman is a writer and editor for Medscape. She can be reached at Jbaulkman@medscape.net

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