Can we close the income and wealth gap between specialists and primary care physicians?
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.
Vaughn, BT; DeVrieze, SR; Reed, SD; Schulman, KA
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