Are Doctors Underpaid?


As a practicing physician, do you consider yourself underpaid? Well according to Medscape’s recent survey on Physician Compensation, nearly half of all doctors consider themselves underpaid.

Medscape surveyed 25,000 physicians from 25 various speciality areas and reported the average salaries of these specialities back in 2011:


  • Pediatrics — $156,000
  • Psychiatry — $170,000
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology — $220,000
  • General surgery — $265,000
  • Plastic surgery — $270,000
  • Cardiology — $314,000
  • Orthopedics — $315,000
  • Radiology — $315,000

Nearly all physician income declined over the course of the past year with the exception of ophthalmologists who garnered a 9% pay increase, pediatricians who increased by 5%, and finally a 4% increase from both rheumatologists and oncologists. The biggest declines of the year went to general surgery with a leap of 12% in decreased income, followed closely by orthopedic surgery and radiology who both dropped 10% and finally emergency medicine which took a dip of nearly 8%.


This study by Medscape also measured various physician attitudes. For instance, the study reported that physicians are split nearly 50/50 on wether they believe they are properly compensated or not, with 56% of primary care physicians and 51% of all physicians responding that their compensation was fair and just for the services that they deliver.

One interesting aspect of this study is that only 11% of the physicians surveyed responded that they considered themselves to be wealthy, primarily due to the heavy debts incurred and/or the large expenses of maintaining a medical practice. When proposed with the question of “Would you do it all over again?”; 56% of those surveyed responded that they would still pursue medicine as a career, 41% responded that they would still select the same speciality, and only 25% of doctors would elect the same practice setting.

Although physicians are among the highest compensated profession in the United States, one must question this. Professional athletes make upwards of 5 to 10 million dollars a year just for playing sports, and someone tasked with saving a life is making less than $300,000 a year?

What do you think? Do you believe that physicians are under compensated or is this an over exaggeration of a problem?

At CRT Medical Systems, we believe the problem lies in the management of the financial end of your practice. As shown by the declining yearly averages of physician compensation, the insurance companies are making it harder and harder to receieve proper reimbursment for medical services that you render.

The medical billing services at CRT Medical can help you better practice medicine; you focus more on your patients while we take care of the rest.

Contact our Medical Billing Experts now for a free analysis of your practice and how we can make you more profitable.


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