Medscape 2020 Physician Compensation Report Shows Salary Increases for Primary Care and Specialties, But COVID-19 Likely to Deal a Sharp Blow to Personal and Practice Finances

NEW YORK, May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Physician salaries rose modestly this past year, but the impact of COVID-19 on group and private practices, as well as on many specialties that rely on elective procedures, is expected to dramatically alter the physician compensation picture, according to the results of the 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Report and assessments by leading experts.

To view the full Medscape 2020 Physician Compensation Report, visit:

Based on responses from more than 17,000 U.S. physicians across 30 specialties between October 4 and February 10, the report found that average salaries for primary care physicians rose 2.5%, to $243,000 per year, and were up 1.5% for specialists, to an average $346,000. Women, who make up 43% of all primary care physicians, continued to earn less than men ($264,000 versus $212,000) and female specialists earned $89,000 less per year than their male counterparts ($375,000 versus $286,000). As in past years, orthopedists and plastic surgeons were the highest paid ($511,000 and $479,000, respectively), while the lowest paid were public health and preventive medicine specialists and pediatricians ($232,000).

However, public health and preventive medicine physicians saw the largest increase in salary (+11%), followed by allergy and immunology specialists (+9%); physicians seeing a salary decrease were otolaryngologists (-1%) and dermatologists (-2%)

Physicians in Kentucky are the highest paid in the U.S. ($346,000) followed by Tennessee ($338,000), Florida ($333,000), and Alabama ($332,000). The number of physicians in a region, percent of insured patients and the overall concentration of specialists play a role in regional compensation differences.

The Medscape Report is the most comprehensive and widely used physician salary survey in the U.S., assessing compensation, hours worked, time spent with patients, and what they find most rewarding -- and challenging -- about their jobs.

Impact of COVID-19
The Medscape report showed that physicians earned an average 13% in incentive bonuses, often based on patient volume and productivity. The COVID crisis, however, has reduced patient volume by 60%, and practices have seen a 55% decrease in revenue since early March. Nearly 1 in 10 practices have closed, at least temporarily, and some institutions are cutting physician salaries. Elective surgeries and non-urgent care have come to a standstill.

Telemedicine and video visits ('televisits') with patients have increased by 225%, as physicians employ telemedicine and virtual visits to meet patient needs.

"While the Medscape report shows only modest changes in physician salaries through early 2020, we anticipate that this year will be one of enormous challenge for physician practices across the country, regardless of type and specialty," said Leslie Kane, MA, Senior Director, Medscape Business of Medicine. "Physicians are being resourceful and trying new tactics to keep their practices going and treating patients. Many are already thinking about how to safely get their offices opened again. Some specialties will have a backlog of patients, although others will have more of a challenge to make their practices viable again."

Medscape Survey Methods:
The 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Survey was completed by 17,461 physicians representing 30 specialty areas, including Medscape members and nonmembers. Respondents were invited to respond to the online survey. The margin of error for the survey was +/- 0.74% at a 95% confidence level.

About Medscape
Medscape is the leading source of clinical news, health information, and point-of-care tools for health care professionals. Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools. Medscape Education ( is the leading destination for continuous professional development, consisting of more than 30 specialty-focused destinations offering thousands of free C.M.E. and C.E. courses and other educational programs for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Medscape is a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.

About WebMD Health Corp.
WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands Company, is the leading provider of health information services, serving patients, physicians, health care professionals, employers, and health plans through public and private online portals, mobile platforms, and health-focused publications. The WebMD Health Network includes WebMD Health, Medscape, Jobson Healthcare Information, prIME Oncology, MediQuality, Frontline, Vitals Consumer Services, Aptus Health, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, RxList, OnHealth, Medscape Education, and other owned WebMD sites. WebMD®, Medscape®, CME Circle®, Medpulse®, eMedicine®, MedicineNet®,®, and RxList® are among the trademarks of WebMD Health Corp. or its subsidiaries.

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