ACP recently released a new position statement advocating for physicians to receive equitable compensation based on comparable work rather than characteristics of personal identity.
“Physicians, like those in other professions, should be assured that their work is being valued equally,” Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president of ACP, said in a press release. “Salary and compensation should never be negatively impacted by a physician’s personal characteristics, including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Evidence has shown that gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity influence compensation.
Data from Medscape’s 2017 Physician Compensation Report revealed racial/ethnic discrepancies in self-reported compensation ranging from $20,000 to $41,000, with white physicians making $303,000 annually on average, Asians making $283,000, Hispanics or Latinos making $271,000 and blacks making $262,000. The report also found male physicians earn more than female physicians (average, $229,000 per year vs. $197,000 per year).
Although there is a lack of research in the physician population, ACP noted studies done in the general workforce that revealed disparities in compensation due to sexual orientation and workplace discrimination due to gender identity. One study found that gay men earn 11% less than heterosexual men and lesbian women earn 9% more than heterosexual women.
ACP emphasized its position that comparable work at each stage of a physician’s professional career should be the basis of their pay, benefits, clinical and administrative support and institutional responsibilities and should match their skills, knowledge, competencies and expertise.
Additionally, ACP noted the importance of physician compensation agreement transparency, which would ensure that physicians are being paid equitably for comparable work regardless of personal identity characteristics.
Susan Thompson Hinge
Policies and salary reporting practices that diminish pay disparities among physicians and allow for transparent salaries while protecting individual physicians’ identities need to be studied, developed, promoted and implemented, according to ACP. Moreover, ACP called for more research to determine how personal identity may adversely affect physician pay, physician well-being and burnout, and the medical workforce in general.
“By issuing recommendations around the important issues surrounding equitable compensation without regard to personal characteristics ACP hopes to bring awareness to this issue and to start an important national dialogue that creates a culture within medicine at large in which all physicians are paid equitably,” Susan Thompson Hinge, MD, FACP, chair of ACP’s Board of Regents, said in the press release. “This is especially important to female, and other under-represented minority physicians, who historically and currently have seen their contributions undervalued because of who they are, not on what we contribute to patient care.” – by Alaina Tedesco
Internal Medicine was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.