Orthos Top Physician Compensation List in 2017

John Commins, April 7, 2017

Physicians as a class of laborers are the highest paid professionals in the nation, yet only 48% of orthopedic surgeons say they are "fairly compensated" for their work.

Orthopedic surgeons are the highest paid class of physician specialists, but most of them aren't very happy about it, a compensation survey shows.

The 2017 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, which compiled responses from more than 19,200 physicians in 27 specialties, shows that orthopedic surgeons' annual compensation averaged $489,000, nearly $50,000 more than plastic surgeons, the second-highest average annual earners.

However, the survey also found that 48% of orthopedic surgeons felt they weren't "fairly compensated" for their labors, even as their income increased by an average of 10% in the past year, one of the highest rates of growth among specialists.

The orthopedic surgeons are not sulking alone.

About half of physicians said they weren't satisfied with their compensation. Of those malcontents, 46% of primary care physicians and 41% of specialists said an increase of between 11% to 25% would make them smile.

One-third of the physicians in both groups said a compensation hike of 26% to 50% would be even better.

In general, the survey found that primary care physicians were more inclined to push for lower-percentage increases. An outlier 5% of primary care physicians and 7% of specialists said their pay should double.

Emergency medicine physicians, more than any other specialty, said they were fairly compensated (68%), even though they're No. 12 on the annual compensation list with an average of $339,000.

The Medscape report reaffirms any number of other surveys that show that physicians as a class of laborers are the highest paid professionals in the nation.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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