Pediatricians Lowest Paid, but Among Happiest at Work
Pediatricians are the lowest-paid physicians again in this year's Medscape Compensation Report, at $202,000, but the recent Medscape Lifestyle Report finds they are among the top third of those happiest at work.
Pediatricians were the only specialty to lose ground in terms of average pay this year, with a decrease in compensation of 1% relative to the 2016 numbers. In contrast, plastic surgeons had the largest gains, seeing a 24% rise from 2016.
Just more than half of pediatricians (52%) said they were satisfied with their pay, landing near the middle among specialties, with emergency medicine at the top in pay satisfaction (68%) and nephrologists at the bottom (41%).
In this year's compensation survey, physicians not satisfied with pay were asked how much more they should make. Nearly half of pediatricians unhappy with their current salary said they should make 11% to 25% more, whereas 32% said 26% to 50% more.
However, the recently published Medscape Lifestyle Report shows that 36% of pediatricians said they were very happy or extremely happy at work. Most happy at work were dermatologists (43%) and ophthalmologists (42%), the same specialties happiest at work last year. Least likely to report high happiness levels were nephrologists and rheumatologists, both at 24%.
Pediatricians were also among the happiest outside work. At 70%, they were in the fourth-highest percentage group. Most happy outside work were urologists (76%); least happy were the rheumatologists (61%).
Few in MACRA
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) launched in January of this year, and the Medscape Compensation survey asked physicians whether they would participate. At 33%, pediatricians were among the least likely. Ophthalmologists were the most likely to participate, at 64%, and psychiatrists were the least likely, at 19%.
More pediatricians this year said they have seen an influx of patients because of the Affordable Care Act: 32% said yes this year as opposed to 26% in 2016.
Many more pediatricians this year also said they would participate in healthcare exchanges compared with last year, at 36% vs 21%. However, uncertainty remains high, with 45% of pediatricians undecided on participation.
Almost half (47%) reported that participation in the exchanges has not changed income; 12% said they resulted in a decrease and 5% reported an increase, whereas 37% did not participate.