The large impact of COVID produced a fairly small push in GI gains


Despite the shutdowns and falling patient volumes in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, gastroenterologists ’earnings were only 3.1% lower in 2020 than in 2019, according to new results from the Medscape survey.

This drop, from $ 419,000 to $ 406,000, was, however, larger than the average for all specialists, which fell by only 0.6% in 2020.

“Most gastroenterologists who saw a drop in revenue cited COVID-19-related problems, such as job loss, fewer hours, and fewer patients,” Keith L. Martin wrote in 2021 Medscape Gastroenterologist Compensation Report.

Specialties with larger declines than gastroenterology included dermatology (-4%), pediatrics (-5%), and otolaryngology (-9%). In contrast, plastic surgeons experienced the largest increases last year, with an average compensation that increased by 10% compared to 2019. Oncologists (+ 7%) and cardiologists (+ 5%) also performed well. , according to Medscape data.

For doctors who suffered financial hardship, the relief was in several ways.

Many turned to the “Federal Check Protection Program to help them stay in the fleet; some were able to renegotiate their leases; a large percentage reduced their staff, which reduced the his expenses; I don’t see as many patients, ”Michael Belkin, JD, division vice president of Merritt Hawkins and Associates in Dallas, Texas, told Medscape.

One of the complications on the road to recovery was the advances experienced by some gastroenterologists, but the working hours of the specialty have largely recovered. The pre-pandemic average was 53 hours per week, compared to the 52 hours of respondents in gastroenterology this year, which accounted for about 2% of the 17,903 Medscape member physicians who completed the survey.

Among gastroenterologists surveyed who experienced negative financial or practical effects from the pandemic, about a third estimated that their income would take 2 to 3 years to return to the pre-COVID level and 14% believe they will never return to those levels. . It is worth noting, however, that 45% of doctors in general did not report such damage last year.

Despite a drop in revenue last year, more gastroenterologists said they felt fairly offset in 2020 than indicated as such in 2019 (55% vs. 52%). This year’s highest figure, however, is at the bottom of the scale: of the 29 specialties included, only four were lower and 19 were higher. Another five were the same, according to Medscape findings.

In other issues addressed by the survey, gastroenterologists were found closer to the top. When asked if they would choose medicine again, 81% said yes. Only eight of the 29 specialties were superior; 93% of gastroenterologists said they would choose gastroenterology again. Only four specialties were superior.

The survey was conducted from 6 October 2020 to 11 February 2021 and had a sampling error of ± 0.73%. Salary figures were calculated using data for full-time physicians only.

Richard Franki can be contacted at [email protected]

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