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Monday, May 5th 2008

Those Specialists Aren't Paid Enough

Several in the medical blogosphere (here and here) have picked up on a front page WSJ story concerning specialist income and shortages.

Probably an overblown story.

But a look at specialist income got me thinking. Is it just me or is diagnostic radiology the specialty most likely to be disappointed over the next couple of decades? When I was writing my previous posts on physician income I started really thinking that radiology may be in for a significant slow down in earnings growth. There are two factors which I think will contribute to disappointing growth in radiologist income:

1) Their rise in income over the past two decades has been precipitous and outpaced the growth in median income of just about every other specialty. And not all of that has been driven by the rise of interventional procedures. Radiology thus, as a specialty, has some of the most to “give back,” if and when physician income growth slows as cost sharing measures.

2) The rise of outsourcing is probably a little overstated but it seems real enough. With rising healthcare costs concerns over international radiologist work (liability issues, etc) may not be enough to prevent the outsourcing trend from speeding up a bit and driving down reimbursement.

This isn’t to make a claim as to the value of radiology or to say that diagnostic radiologists are currently over reimbursed (I don’t think they are). I’m just trying to imagine the future. Radiologists will never be ‘hurting,’ but in my career I think they’ll be doing more work for less dough.


I’m No Radiologist But Something Ain’t Right Here

I have a lot of respect for the ACR and RadPAC‘s efforts but diagnostic radiology may not be in a completely defendable position with some of it’s unique aspects as a specialty.

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