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Gender-Specific Trends in Ophthalmologist Medicare Collections

Published:January 09, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2019.12.024

      Purpose

      To assess the factors influencing the Medicare collections disparity between male and female ophthalmologists.

      Design

      Retrospective cohort study.

      Methods

      The Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data from 2012-2015 were combined with the 2015 Physician Compare National Downloadable file and US Census data. Three complementary regression models were generated for number of patients seen, number of services performed per patient, and the amount collected per service. Predictor variables included gender, calendar year, geography, years since medical school graduation, and subspecialty.

      Results

      After adjusting for age, geography, and subspecialty, women ophthalmologists collected 42% less as compared to male ophthalmologists, with the median male ophthalmologist out-earning the 75th-percentile female ophthalmologist across almost all age groups, practice categories, and geographic regions. Although women are entering more lucrative subspecialties (cataract and retina) at a higher rate than before, the percentage of women pursuing these subspecialties remains lower than that of men.

      Conclusions

      Compared with men, women ophthalmologists see fewer patients and have lower Medicare collections. The observed gender gap in collections was highly persistent across years in practice, subspecialty, and geographic region. Future studies are warranted to examine whether the observed gender collections gap results from structural inequities, social circumstances, or personal choices.
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