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ACP: End Unfair Physician Pay Disparities

News  |  By Debra Shute  
   December 11, 2017

Doctor pay should be based on comparable work, not personal characteristics, urges the American College of Physicians in a new position statement.

“Physicians, like those in other professions, should be assured that their work is being valued equally,” said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president of the American College of Physicians, regarding a position statement approved by the Board of Regents on November 19, 2017.

“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,” he continued.

Related: Pay Equity Laws Afoot: 4 Ways to Prepare

Pay-equity principles promoted by the ACP include the following:

  • Physician compensation (including pay, benefits, clinical and administrative support, clinical schedules, institutional responsibilities, and where appropriate, lab space and support for researchers, etc), should be equitable. In other words, compensation should be based on comparable work at each stage of doctors' professional careers in accordance with their skills, knowledge, competencies, and expertise.
  • Transparency is needed in physician compensation arrangements to ensure that physicians regardless of characteristics of personal identity (including, but not limited to, race, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and gender identity) are paid equitably for comparable work.
  • The healthcare industry should study, develop, promote, and implement policies and salary reporting practices that reduce pay disparities and bring transparency to physician salaries in a manner that protects the personal privacy of individual physicians.
  • Stakeholders should conduct further research to identify the adverse effects that one’s characteristics of personal identity have on physician pay, with resultant effect on well-being and burnout, and how those affect the strength of the medical workforce.

Related: Female Physicians Earn 8% Less Than Men

The ACP shares these remarks citing background evidence demonstrating that gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity all impact compensation—and that having multiple, different personal characteristics compounds compensation disparity.

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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