Can we close the income and wealth gap between specialists and primary care physicians?


Journal Article

Over their lifetimes, primary care physicians earn lower incomes--and accumulate considerably less wealth--than their specialist counterparts. This gap influences medical students, who are choosing careers in primary care in declining numbers. We estimated career wealth accumulation across specialists, primary care physicians, physician assistants, business school graduates, and college graduates. We then compared specialists, represented by cardiologists, to primary care physicians in four scenarios. The wealth gap is substantial; narrowing it would require substantial reductions in specialists' practice income or increases in primary care physicians' practice income, or both, of more than $100,000 a year. Current proposals for increasing primary care physician supply would do little to lessen these differences.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vaughn, BT; DeVrieze, SR; Reed, SD; Schulman, KA

Published Date

  • May 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 933 - 940

PubMed ID

  • 20439883

Pubmed Central ID

  • 20439883

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1544-5208

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-2715

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0675


  • eng