Male Docs Make WAY More than Females: What's Going On?
(CBS) Do doctors make too much money? One thing's for certain: Male doctors make a lot more than their female counterparts.
Surprised? A new study shows the pay gap is only widening.
In 2008, newly minted male doctors started out earning an average of $209,300, the study showed. And the women? In the same year, they took home $174,000. That means a pay gap of $35,300, up from a gap of $21,778 in 1999.
After adjusting for differences in medical specialty, hours worked, and type of practice, the gap was $3,600 in 1999 and a whopping $16,819 in 2008.
What's going on? One possibility, says study author Anthony Lo Sasso, a senior research scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is that women doctors are more likely to seek work flexibility and family-friendly benefits - for example, not being on call after certain hours.
"It may be that lifestyle factors may be increasingly important to newer physicians," Lo Sasso said in a written statement. "It could be that women in particular want to have more of a lifestyle balance in their medical careers."
Another possibility is that women earn less because they tend to see fewer patients than do their male counterparts.
For the most part, doctors are paid under a "fee for service" system, meaning that the more patients they see, the more they earn, according to Dr. Kevin Pho, who writes a popular medical blog.
"By spending more time with patients, female physicians are financially penalized by seeing less patients during the day," he told CBS News in an email. "It's another reason why we need to change the way doctors are paid, and reward them for spending time with patients, instead of penalizing them."
The study, based on a survey of 4,918 male doctors and 3,315 female doctors in New York State, was published in the Feb. issue of "Health Affairs."
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