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Les Doc.s primaires de soin font de manière significative moins que des spécialistes : étude

par Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter | October 25, 2010

"The system of payment is not established by demand and supply, but by government-established prices," said Leigh. "The key thing here is that the government can then change those prices."

He explained that the government will determine how much a physician should be paid for, say, a colonoscopy.

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"People respond to incentives," he said. "If people get paid more for procedures, they say, 'Let's do more.'"

Although wage disparity was found between men and women, Leigh and his team reported that there was no disparity due to race or ethnicity.

"We're happy about that," he said. "We were one of the first to show that."

The researchers did not study whether a white female would be paid more than a minority female.

The research confirms Leigh's suspicions that specialists are overpaid - a problem that will only help cause health care costs to skyrocket, he said.

"Specialists are overvalued, they're overpaid," he said. "These days we're concerned about medical costs, and one way to bring them down is to reduce hours and wages for specialists. Why must we pay specialists $150 an hour?"

The implications of these findings are disconcerting, as medical students choose specialties that will pay them better wages in a time when the primary care workforce is facing and will continue to face a severe shortage.

"[The shortage] is exacerbated by these differentials," Leigh said.

"[With health care reform], we're going to bring in more patients and where are the primary care doctors for them?" asked Leigh. "There will be a big logjam in the next couple of years. Students in med school are not dumb. They're looking at the expected future wages for different specialties, and they see primary care at the very bottom...It's not surprising to me that a lot will choose to become specialists."

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