By DANIELLA FERNANDEZ-GARCIA, Associated PressThe Washington Times on Monday published a study that showed that a growing number of physicians are being paid far more than they should be for their services.
Researchers examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau for Medicare and Medicaid Services, looking at the median pay for all physician positions in each state in 2015.
In the top five percent of earners, the average pay for a general physician in 2015 was $1.6 million.
By contrast, the median salary for a hospital physician was $739,600, or $13,878 more than the next highest paid.
Among those who made more than $1 million, the next lowest paid was a nurse practitioner, who earned $162,600.
The highest paid was an OB-GYN, who made $5.637 million, or nearly $11,000 more than a general practitioner.
In other words, for every $1,000 paid to a general-medicine physician, an OB/GYN made $2,955.
The study found that general-practice physicians made up more than half of the salary earners, while nurses made up a smaller share.
In fact, nurses made a median of $1 in 2015, while a general medical physician made a maximum of $4,600 in 2015 and a total of $11.2 million in 2016.
The average annual pay for nurses in the U.S. was $9,000, according to the Bureau.
Among doctors, the top 10 percent earned nearly $1 billion in compensation last year, more than double the $1-billion average of all physicians.
The top 20 percent earned about $7.5 billion, the study said.
Among the top 1 percent of physicians, the pay was about $1 and a half billion, or about $3.3 million per doctor.
Among the top 20, the compensation for the top 0.1 percent of doctors was about half that.
About two-thirds of physicians who were paid more than twice the median for their profession were also working in areas with high mortality rates, the report said.
The highest paid doctors made $9.2 billion, while the bottom fifth of earners made $6.4 million.
The lowest paid doctors earned about a quarter of the median, and about one-fifth of the top doctors.
The authors of the study were not able to determine how much more a physician’s pay would have increased if they had stayed in general practice, but they said they believed the increases were justified.