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Medscape Salary Survey: Does it ring true?

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  • Medscape Salary Survey: Does it ring true?

    Here is a blog post containing data from the 2016 Medscape Physician Compensation Report: https://thedoctorweighsin.com/how-much-money-do-us-doctors-make/.

    Are these numbers accurate? Rural cardiologists in the Midwest do better. So do anesthesiologists. My med school housemate is a S. FL interventional radiologist and he also earns much more than this.

    Perhaps the academic physicians bring down the median/mean, and/or the coastal/urban physicians are being abused for their geographic preference?
    Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

  • #2
    So much variability that its really hard to interpret - I would only use medscape as a general layout of where most specialties sit in relation to each other

    The mgma type surveys are typically more accurate IMO.

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    • #3
      I agree with SValleyMD. There seems to be a significant variability within each specialty although the survey does seem to accurately position the specialities compensation compared to one another.

      I'm a pediatrician and I have several friends from med school and residency scattered around the country who are also pediatricians and the difference in annual compensation from the highest paid to lowest paid is almost $100K difference.

      I think CM gets it right too though--my friends who live in NYC and Hawaii aren't paid nearly as well as those of us elsewhere in the country. And I know that even within my own area, working for the big academic center means taking a pay cut compared to similar jobs in other local health care systems.

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      • #4
        From a pathology point of view, that salary listed seems fairly accurate, but there is a HUGE range (think $4-500k/year difference between high and low).

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        • #5
          There is a HUGE range within each specialty. When I was interviewing for jobs out of fellowship, the difference between the best paying and the worst paying private practice jobs was >300k. Academic jobs were 50k lower than that. I feel like the Medscape survey is a decent first approximation of an average for the specialty but there is plenty of noise in the sample.

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          • #6
            I fill out the survey every year, and I feel like they do not ask the question properly such that I probably do not answer correctly or consistently.

            If I were asking, I would ask along the lines of these three questions:

            1. What are your W-2 and 1099 wages in your specialty?

            2. What additional financial benefits do you receive from your clinical work (retirement plan, cash balance plan, car, meeting and CME expenses, etc.) that do not show up on the W-2?

            3. What, if any, is your income from related business interests (surgicenters, imaging centers, consulting opportunities, etc.) that might show up on K-1 or 1099-Misc forms?

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            • #7
              I've always been impressed that the difference between two doctors in the same specialty is often bigger than the difference between the average doc in the highest and lowest specialty.
              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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              • #8
                What do you guys think about the Doximity.com salary map?

                Agree it would be useful to have some percentiles rather than just a median.  I think the MGMA data gives percentiles

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                • #9




                  What do you guys think about the Doximity.com salary map?

                  Agree it would be useful to have some percentiles rather than just a median.  I think the MGMA data gives percentiles
                  Click to expand...


                  .
                  Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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                  • #10
                    I agree that they do not ask the question correctly.  They basically ask how much I earned last year - ok, but how did I get there, how many hours I worked, was it employed, self-employed or both.  Most docs I know hustle and few just have "one job" that pays them X amount per year.  So say average for my field is 225k or whatever it is, and I am in NYC which should pay less, yet most of my friends in my specialty earn 1.5-2+ x that amount (and likely are too busy to fill out the survey).  So way too many confounding variables.  All in all, it feels that numbers are a bit too low.  An average is not a median and I suspect median is higher in this case.

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                    • #11
                      I'm military, so...no, not for me.  Some of the senior officer pediatricians come close to their average with retention bonuses, and some of us can do moonlighting which can help bring us to or above the average, but for the higher-paying specialties like ortho, cards, anes, rads, and GI we're not even close.

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                      • #12
                        For psychiatry, Medscape seems to lag what I see in psychiatry in real life and in other surveys (e.g., Merritt-Hawkins, Becker, MGMA, etc...) by around 15%.

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                        • #13
                          I believe the huge salary discrepancies in specialties depends on location and practice setting.  Those in congested metro markets where there are consolidating health systems, corporate takeovers and employed physicians will make much less than those in private groups in the middle of the country and rural areas.  Academics and va will also pay less no matter where you are.  In my specialty of radiology, this can be a factor of 2-3x difference.  These surveys also don't take into account rvus and how hard you work.  You really take a pay hit in some popular/congested markets.  So what conclusion can you draw from an average salary survey, not much imho.

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                          • #14
                            I think it's a good place to start, not the end of the conversation. If you find out that your specialty average is 250k and there is a job offer for 600k, you'd better believe there is a reason (insane schedule, middle of nowhere, teaser guarantee, etc) that you need to figure out before you sign. On the flip side, an offer of 150k had better come with serious upsides to take it when you can take an "average" job for 100k more. It's all about being able to spot red flags on a job before you sign on the dotted line.

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