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Physician Pay Equity Issues Are Under the Microscope

As our blog reported on June 21, and as is the case across many industries, issues related to physician pay equity are receiving increased attention nationwide.

Doximity’s 2018 Physician Compensation Report (its second annual report) contained key national findings on the gender wage gap that point to widespread disparities in physician compensation:

  • The overall disparity increased from 26.5% in 2016 to 27.7% in 2017.

  • As was the case in 2016, “female physicians did not out-earn their male counterparts in any of the top 50 metro areas.”

  • More than half of these metro areas saw the gender wage gap increase in 2017 as compared to 2016.

  • In 2017, in 25 of these top 50 metro areas, the gap was greater than $100,000 (and the largest was $134,499 in Charleston, SC).

  • The tightest (smallest) gap in dollars was still more than $68,000 ($68,758 in Rochester, NY).

Separately, the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) recently conducted its own compensation survey.  After surveying 508 physicians, MedChi found that Maryland’s male physicians earn almost 50% more than its female physicians (an average salary of $335,000/year vs. $224,000).

Relatedly, Modern Healthcare reported last week that women are “still a rarity in high-paying surgical specialties.”  Doximity’s Report also contained data that physician compensation widely ranges by specialty – with surgery dominating the top slots (from the high of $662,755 for neurosurgery) – and different pediatric medicine specialties rounding out the bottom of the list (with a low of $191,735 for pediatric infectious disease).

While many healthcare organizations are tackling issues related to diversity and inclusion, the studies discussed above suggest they also should be examining the factors behind the gender pay gap and identifying means to address it.  This is especially important today as an increasing number of jurisdictions are enacting pay equity laws that impose significant penalties for violations, such as those enacted by enacted by California, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, and Massachusetts

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 219


About this Author

Jessica M. Marsh, Jackson Lewis, labor arbitrations lawyer, contract administration matters attorney
Of Counsel

Jessica M. Marsh is Of Counsel in the Minneapolis, MN, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is certified as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist through the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Ms. Marsh’s traditional labor experience includes assisting both unionized and union-free workplaces facing union organizing attempts, picketing and/or strike activity, and union election petitions. Ms. Marsh defends employers responding to unfair-labor practice charges at the NLRB Regional Offices and on exceptions to the NLRB. Ms. Marsh also represents...