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Physician Wages across Specialties: Informing the Physician Reimbursement Debate

Paul Leigh, Ph.D., UC Davis Medical Center, CHPR Core Faculty & Professor of Health Economics
  • Physician Wages across Specialties: Informing the Physician Reimbursement Debate
  • 2011-01-13T12:00:00-08:00
  • 2011-01-13T13:30:00-08:00
  • Paul Leigh, Ph.D., UC Davis Medical Center, CHPR Core Faculty & Professor of Health Economics
When
Jan 13, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
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Contact Phone
(916) 445-5100
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Disparities in pay between primary care and other physician specialties may impede health care reform by undermining the sustainability of a vigorous primary care workforce.  Prior studies compared annual income across specialties. Wage (earnings-per-hour) comparisons could provide a more complete picture of the relative valuation of physician specialties and so better inform the physician payment debate. In his study Dr. Leigh used Cross-sectional analysis of data from 6,381 physicians in the 2004-2005 Community Tracking Study and found that wages for surgery, internal medicine and pediatric sub-specialties, and other specialties were 48%, 36%, and 45% higher, than for primary care specialties.  In light of low and declining medical student interest in primary care, these findings suggest the need for payment reform aimed at increasing incomes and/or reducing work hours for primary care physicians.

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