Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD study finds wide disparity in doctorsÕ wages

By
November 1, 2010 |

Special to the Enterprise

SACRAMENTO Ñ A national study of physician wages conducted by UC Davis Health System has found that specialists are paid as much as 52 percent more than primary-care doctors, even though primary-care doctors see far more patients.

As efforts to implement health care reform evolve, the study is important because it quantifies wage disparities and explores the need for wage reform to help assure a strong primary-care workforce.

ÒAddressing the generalist-specialist income gap is critical to increasing access to cost-effective preventive care,Ó said J. Paul Leigh, a professor in the UCD Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and lead author of the study, published in the Oct. 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

ÒThere is a huge shortage of primary-care physicians, and in years to come many more of them will be needed to meet health care reform goals.Ó

The wage differences add up to millions of dollars over a lifetime, according to senior author Richard Kravitz, a professor of internal medicine and investigator with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research. The result, he said, is a critical shortfall in the number of U.S. medical students entering generalist careers, in part because of the realization that peers in specialties such as radiology and dermatology will be making more money for less work.

ÒThere is this sense that society simply doesn’t value primary care,Ó he said.

For the nationwide study, the investigators compared wages of more than 6,000 doctors practicing in 41 specialties in 60 communities. The data came from the 2004 to 2005 Community Tracking Study, a periodic evaluation of physician demographic, geographic and market trends.

Unlike previous studies analyzing income disparities, the research team compared hourly wages, factoring in the hours per day physicians reported working and excluding vacation time. The 2005 hourly wages for four broad specialty categories were as follows:

** Primary care, including pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice and internal medicine: $60.48 per hour.

** Internal medicine and pediatric subspecialties, including allergy and immunology, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, rheumatology, pulmonary, critical care, medical oncology and neonatal: $84.85 per hour.

** Other medical specialties, including radiation oncology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, emergency medicine, psychiatry, neurology, ophthalmology and dermatology: $88.08 per hour.

** Surgery, including neurological, plastic, orthopaedic and obstetrics/gynecologic: $92.10 per hour.

The specialists with the highest wages were neurological surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, dermatologists, orthopaedic surgeons and ophthalmologists. In general, physicians who earned the most money either performed surgery, deployed sophisticated technologies or administered expensive drugs in office settings.

Lower-paid specialties primarily relied on talking with and examining patients.

An over-reliance on highly specialized medicine results in skyrocketing costs as well as poorer overall health, as prevention and primary medical care are de-emphasized, according to Kravitz.

The solution, he said, lies in reducing the wage disparities and redesigning the payment structure for care.

ÒInstead of rewarding the use of expensive and often risky procedures, greater emphasis should be placed on getting the basics right Ñ immunizations, cancer screenings, chronic-disease management and recognition of the ‘red flags’ that signal the need for more intensive diagnostic study,Ó Kravitz said.

The authors point out that a shortage of primary-care doctors will be especially worrisome as the baby boom generation ages.

ÒGiven the central role of generalists in caring for older patients with complex, chronic illnesses, these findings could predict future problems with meeting the medical needs of our growing population of elderly patients,Ó said Leigh.

Additional study outcomes revealed no significant differences in wages by race, indicating that medicine may have achieved wage parity for minorities. Wages for women, however, were $9 less per hour regardless of practice area, indicating that gender parity in physician wages has yet to be achieved.

In addition to Leigh and Kravitz, the other Center for Healthcare Policy and Research authors were Daniel Tancredi, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Anthony Jerant, associate professor of family and community medicine.

Ñ UC Davis Health System

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6