This year MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, conducted a physician compensation survey in partnership with Merritt Hawkins, a leading U.S. physician search and consulting firm. The survey shows unfavorable discrepancies in Maryland physicians’ salaries compared to physicians in other states. Maryland pays much lower than the rest of the country. Further, there is a startling gender pay gap for doctors in Maryland. Women make substantially less than men, by up to 50%, even when controlling for hours worked.
Merritt Hawkins emailed the survey to approximately 10,000 physicians who are MedChi members or Maryland physicians from Merritt Hawkins’ internal database. The survey was emailed several times over a 44-day period spanning January 10 to February 23, 2018. A total of 508 responses were received for a response rate of five percent. Psychiatrists comprised 6.3% (or about 32) of the respondents, the fourth largest of the specialties identified by the survey. The margin of error is (μ ± 4.4%).
Key findings of the 2018 Survey of Maryland Physician Compensation include:
- Maryland physicians earn less on average than physicians nationally, in many cases less than what physicians typically are paid in starting salaries as tracked by Merritt Hawkins. (Total, pretax 2016 Psychiatry income is listed at $230K which is the third lowest listed after Pediatrics and Family Medicine.)
- Wide pay gaps exist between male and female physicians in Maryland, with female physicians earning approximately 50% less on average than males. The average annual income for male physicians in Maryland is $335K compared to $224K for female physicians.
- Female physicians in Maryland earn less than male physicians in the same specialty. (Male psychiatrists earn an average of 35% more than female psychiatrists, with an average annual income of $270K for male psychiatrists and $200K for female. For those working 41 hours or more per week, average income is $276K vs. $210K.)
- Maryland’s female physicians earn less than male physicians when hours worked are accounted for.
- Maryland physicians who are employed earn 7.9% less than physicians who own their practices. (For psychiatrists, the income difference in the survey results is even more significant, with those who are independent earning $284K vs. $199K for employed psychiatrists.)
- Quality-based payments account for 20% or less of income earned by 78% of Maryland physicians who report that at least some of their income is tied to quality.
- Only 41% of Maryland physicians indicated they participate in Medicare’s new physician reimbursement formula, known as MACRA.
The survey report includes a detailed analysis of the respondents’ demographics, work patterns and income. It also describes compensation by status, gender and age. The report concludes, “Maryland physicians are split over whether their compensation is fair given their level of effort.”