A new study from Duke University has found that women cardiologists earn around $100,000 less than men on average, Futurity reports.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers looked at data from 161 different cardiology practices in the United States that were surveyed in 2013.
They made several key findings. First, men are more likely to be employed full time in this field than women, with men also dominating in subspecialties that they can charge more for. This means that in the billing process, men generate more relative value units (RVUs) than women—this is how the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services reimburses doctors, and it is a measure of the value of a procedure based on complexity and time. Men generate a median of 9,301 RVUs, with women generating an average of 7,430.
That means that women cardiologists tend to make $100,000 less than men—as a result of men dominating in the higher-paying fields.
“The differences in sub-specialization and practice were striking and merit note,” said Reshma Jagsi, an associate professor at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study.
Unexplained difference in compensation
“But it’s also important to note that the difference in compensation between men and women couldn’t fully be explained by differences in subspecialty, procedures, or the many other personal, job, and practice characteristics that we evaluated.”
Even adjusting for differences in the amount, type, and complexity of the work performed, women still earn about $32,000 less as cardiologists than men.
“These results recapitulate the salary differences that have been found among male and female physicians, lawyers, business executives, and others,” said Pamela Douglas, a professor at the Duke University Clinical Research Institute.
“Cardiology needs to be welcoming to women. One way to do this is to acknowledge these differences and work toward correcting them.
“This is the first study to show that although men and women cardiologists share the same specialty, they have markedly different job descriptions,” Douglas said. “Thirty-nine percent of men are interventionalists versus 11 percent of women, and this sets the stage for higher compensation.”
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