July 19, 2022

Our latest research: Gender disparities in healthcare provider pay

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Our latest research: Gender disparities in healthcare provider pay

New collaborative research with Waymark, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine

The wage gap between male and female primary care providers may be due, in part, to productivity-based compensation models that undervalue female practice patterns. We sought to determine how primary care physician (PCP) compensation by gender differs when applying existing productivity-based and alternative compensation models. Using a national clinical registry of 1222 primary care practices, we found that female PCP panels included patients who were, on average, younger, had lower diagnosis-based risk scores, were more often female, and were more often uninsured or insured by Medicaid rather than by Medicare. Under productivity-based payment, female PCPs earned a median of $58 829 (interquartile range [IQR], $39 553 to $120 353; 21%) less than male PCPs. This gap was similar under capitation ($58 723 [IQR, $42 141 to $140 192]). It was larger under capitation risk-adjusted for age alone ($74 695 [IQR, $42 884 to $152 423]), for diagnosis-based scores alone ($114 792 [IQR, $49 080 to $215 326] and $89 974 [IQR, $26 175 to $173 760]), and for age-, sex-, and diagnosis-based scores ($83 438 [IQR, $28 927 to $129 414] and $66 195 [IQR, $11 899 to $96 566]). The gap was smaller and nonsignificant under capitation risk-adjusted for age and sex ($36 631 [IQR, $12 743 to $73 898]). Overall, capitation risk-adjusted for patient age and sex resulted in a smaller gap in compensation between male and female providers, and might better align with primary care effort and outcomes.

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