Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.
Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.

A Look at EM Physician Compensation in 2016


In 2016, emergency physicians earn an average of $322,000 per year throughout the United States, according to a recent study by Medscape. That average salary for EM physicians placed them somewhere in the middle of incomes by physicians across all specialities, the Medscape EM Physician Compensation Report 2016 revealed. Orthopedists and cardiologists held the spot for the first and second most lucrative incomes this year at $443,000 and $410,000, respectively.

The average salary for EM physicians increased by 5 percent over the previous year, which is also in the middle of increases other specialities have seen. Based on the results of the survey,  internists unexpectedly realized the greatest increase of 12 percent. Emergency physicians attribute their modest increase in salary to several different factors, including working more hours, increase in patient volume, raises, or changed jobs or positions.

By geographical region, EM physicians in the southern regions of the United States earned the highest incomes: South Central region was $371,000, the Southeast was $360,000, and the Southwest was $355,000. EM physicians earn the lowest salaries in the Northeast ($278,000) and Northwest ($294,000). The Great Lakes region, which includes Indiana, fell in the middle at $321,000, just slightly below the average.

Interestingly, 60 percent of EM physicians believe that they are fairly compensated. That number, however, includes a wide disparity between male and female EM physicians and whether they are self-employed or part of a group. Of EM physicians who are employed by a group, 52 percent of male EM physicians and 63 percent of female EM physicians believe that they are fairly compensated. However, those numbers are significantly lower, 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively, among their self-employed counterparts.

These opinions of fairness also should be noted within the context that as in all previous years, male EM physicians are earning more than female EM physicians to the tune of $53,000 per year (male EM physicians made $332,000 and their female peers, $279,000). According to Travis Singleton of Merritt Hawkins, a physician search and consulting firm, “The persistence of these disparities is puzzling because we see no contractual bias from our clients against female candidates.” He noted that the differences may reflect variations in work schedules, “particularly with younger female physicians who are in their peak child-rearing years and require flexible schedules, including part-time,” though all findings in the Medscape study were based on full-time employment.

Given the average increase in salaries, how do EM physicians feel about their careers? A majority of EM physicians (66%) said they would pick a career in medicine again if they had it to do over, but only 44 percent said they would choose emergency medicine. While the majority of EM physicians (67%) spend 30-45 hours per week seeing patients, almost half (41% of self-employed and 49% of employed) of EM physicians spend 10 hours or more per week on paperwork and administrative tasks.

For more information about the salaries and work practices of EM physicians in 2016, review the Medscape slideshow highlighting the results of the recent survey.

— All rights reserved. For use or reprint in your blog, website, or publication, please contact us at cipromsmarketing@ciproms.com. Photo by Lydia via Flickr used with permission under the Creative Commons License.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor who provides communications and marketing services for CIPROMS. She is responsible for creating, editing, and managing all content, design, and interaction on the company website and social media channels in order to promote CIPROMS as a thought leader in healthcare billing and management.

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