Physician compensation decreased for these 9 specialties

Given the financial blow the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt to many areas of healthcare, it may be no surprise that salaries for some medical specialties declined over the past year.

Orthopedic surgeons suffered the biggest average drop in salary among all specialists in 2021, according to a report by physician search and consulting firm Merritt Hawkins released Aug. 9. Gastroenterologists saw a 1 percent dip, the most mild of all specialties that didn't see an increase.

Here are the nine specialties for which average starting salaries dropped over the past year, ranked by percent decrease:

Figures are based on 2,458 permanent physician and advanced practitioner search assignments that were ongoing or conducted by Merritt Hawkins/AMN Healthcare's physician staffing companies from April 2020 to March 2021

  1. Orthopedic surgery: -13 percent, from $626,000 to $546,000
  2. Obstetrics/gynecology: -11 percent, from $327,000 to $291,000
  3. Dermatology: -10 percent, from $419,000 to $378,000
  4. Pulmonology: -10 percent, from $430,000 to $385,000
  5. Anesthesiology: -8 percent, from $399,000 to $367,000
  6. Cardiology (interventional): -5 percent, from $640,000 to $611,000
  7. Radiology: -5 percent, from $423,000 to $401,000
  8. Hematology/oncology: -4 percent, from $403,000 to $385,000
  9. Gastroenterology: -1 percent, from $457,000 to $453,000

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