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Physician Income Gap Widens

Posted October. 31, 2005 03:01,   


The top 10 percent of physicians earn an average 65.25 million won a month, which accounts for 28.33 percent of the entire income the industry receives from diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime, the average monthly income of the bottom 10 percent of physicians is 4.89 million won, 2.12 percent of the entire income.

In addition, the income from diagnosis and treatment of the top 20 percent of physicians accounts for 44.05 percent, implying that the income imbalance among physicians is more serious than was originally thought.

In particular, according to an analysis of six major medical departments, including the general medicine department, internal medicine department, orthopedic medicine department, the ear, nose, and throat department, the pediatrics department, and the ophthalmic department that are most frequently covered by medical insurance, the income gap between the general and ophthalmic medicine department is the widest.

The monthly income of the top 10 percent of eye doctors is 116.82 million won, which is 14.7 times bigger than the bottom 10 percent of eye doctors who make 7.94 million won on average per month. The average monthly income of the top 10 percent of general medicine department physicians is 48.59 million won, almost 12 times bigger that the bottom 10 percent who make 4.1 million won per month on average.

The gap of income among primary medical institutes that play an important role in ensuring public health can be attributed to marketing and location of hospitals rather than to the capability of physicians.

“Patients are being attracted to a few hospitals,” Lee said. “If this trend continues, medical expenses will rise, increasing the financial burden on patients.”

This news was announced at an autumn academic convention on preventive medical science that was held on October 28.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com