The growth in physicians’ earnings in the past 15 years have lagged behind those of other health professionals, according to findings reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association

Seth A. Seabury, PhD, of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues studied trends in the earnings of health care professionals in the United States between 1987 and 2010. Their study sample included 30,556 respondents working as health professionals, of whom 20.5% were physicians.

Overall, median earnings increased by 9.6% from 1987-1990 to 2006-2010. During the same period, other health professionals experienced larger increases. For example, pharmacists’ incomes rose by 44%. After adjustment, earnings from 1987-1990 to 1996-2000 increased by 19.9% for physicians and 23.3% for dentists. No significant growth was observed in physician earnings from 1996-2000 to 2006-2010, whereas adjusted earnings increased for other health professionals, for example, by 34.4% for pharmacists.

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