Doctor’s paychecks across Los Angeles County swelled on average 13 percent this year, more than twice the national average, according to a national research study released this week, while job growth lagged far behind major U.S. cities.
L.A. doctors on average got a raise but their annual compensation of $350,000 trailed behind the $356,000 average salary paid to doctors across the nation, according to Doximity Inc., which claims to be the largest online social network for physicians, which commissioned the report.
The study pegged Los Angeles as the No. 3 metro area in the U.S. for a boost in doctor’s pay, while putting L.A. at No. 10 for job growth at 1 percent compared with 42 percent in San Francisco, and 72 percent for Boston.
“That was one of the things that jumped out at us,” said study author Chris Whaley, an adjunct professor of health economics at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. “It doesn’t look like the labor market in L.A. is growing that fast, but the compensation is. It’s a little bit curious to us.”
The Doximity study, drawn from more than 12,000 physician job advertisements across the nation and 40,000 self-reported compensation surveys, generally found strong growth in physician employment across 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas. It also suggested a possible physician shortage in coming decades.
Nationally, physician compensation grew by 5.1 percent, according to Doximity.
The trend suggested higher job pay for doctors in most urban areas, but there were regions where physician pay fell or remain flat. San Francisco showed the highest compensation growth, at 16 percent, where average physician pay rose from $282,000 to $328,000. In Boston, pay rose 7 percent from $250,000 to $267,000.
In Los Angeles, docs saw a boost from $306,000 to $350,000, a 13-percent increase.
A University of Phoenix and Harris Poll released Thursday reported 43 percent of doctors, nurses and other workers in the healthcare industry across the U.S. were more likely to feel undercompensated for their work, compared with 38 percent of all Americans. Eleven percent felt they were overcompensated, according to the survey of 1,019 adults working 20 hours or more a week, with 108 identifying as working in healthcare, 94 working in professional services, and 109 working in insurance, banking, or finance.
Meanwhile, physician job growth soared in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, which saw a 36-percent spike in job postings. Seattle (4 percent), Philadelphia and Miami (2 percent), and Los Angeles at 1 percent remained relatively flat.
Among the 10 most common medical specialties, physician job postings increased overall, according to Doximity.com, based in San Francisco, which claims a membership of more than 70 percent of all U.S. physicians.
Demand for geriatrics specialists grew by 164 percent, compared with a 49-percent increase in urology and a 23-percent increase in cardiology.
“Doctors caring for patients is the heart of our system, and we continue to see a big uptick in demand for physicians across the country,” said Dr. Nate Gross, a co-founder of Doximity, in a statement. “This backs up other studies pointing to the possibility of physician shortages moving forward. And in the short-term, we’re seeing an impact on physician compensation.”
Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.