Published 5/1/2014

How Well Do You Compare?

Each year, Medscape, a part of the WebMD Health Professional Network, conducts a compensation study using a third-party online survey collection site. During the period Dec. 11, 2013, through Jan. 24, 2014, more than 24,000 physicians—including 722 orthopaedists—responded to questions about their compensation, number of hours worked, practice changes resulting from healthcare reform, and adaptations to the new healthcare environment.

In addition to comparing orthopaedists to physicians in 24 other specialties, the report also examined responses within the orthopaedic specialty. Following are some of the findings.

Compared to other specialties, in 2013, orthopaedists were the earnings leaders at $413,000—an increase of 1.9 percent over 2012. Earnings are for full-time work only and include salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions. For partners, these are earnings after taxes and deductible business expenses, but before income tax. They do not include non–patient-related earnings.

Male orthopaedists make considerably more than female orthopaedists—$418,000 versus $354,000. But female orthopaedists still make more than all cardiologists, the second-highest earners.

Payer practices
In this year’s Medscape report, 16 percent of self-employed and 5 percent of employed orthopaedists said they are likely to stop taking new Medicare or Medicaid patients. More than half (51 percent) of the responding orthopaedists say they will drop insurers who pay poorly.

Participation in health insurance exchanges was split. Approximately one quarter of orthopaedic respondents said they would participate in exchanges, another quarter said they would not, and half were unsure whether they would participate in health insurance exchanges.

Despite the difference in earnings between female and male orthopaedists, female orthopaedists are much more likely to feel satisfied with their income (62 percent of women compared with 43 percent of men).

Only 44 percent of the orthopaedists who responded to this survey would choose medicine as a career again, but if they did, nearly two thirds would continue as orthopaedists. This puts orthopaedists in the middle among all physicians in overall career satisfaction.

The top two rewarding parts of being an orthopaedist, according to the respondents of this survey, are relationships with patients (43 percent) and being good at what they do (31 percent).

Additional Information:
Medscape Orthopedist Compensation Report
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