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Dr. Helen

Do Men and Women Practice Medicine Differently?

April 22nd, 2014 - 6:48 am

That is a question posed by this CNBC article looking at the differences in how many services male and female doctors perform with Medicare patients:

The diagnosis: a serious case of medical gender gap.

Male doctors on average make 88 percent more in Medicare reimbursements than female physicians, according to an analysis of recently released government data, which suggests that the gender of a medical provider could play a role in the number of services they provide patients.

The NerdWallet research found that male physicians on average were paid $118,782 in Medicare reimbursements by the federal government in 2012, compared with $63,346 for women doctors.

Naturally, the “alarming” headline of the article is that male doctors are paid more in Medicare reimbursement than female doctors. However, the real question might be:

“This certainly begs the question of whether men and women practice medicine differently,” Ositelu said. “The bottom line is patients may experience higher costs through doctors who bill for more services per patient.”

Higher costs or tests run that save lives or just make them better? Why are more procedures worse? Maybe men are more willing to ask for procedures that their female counterparts do not? Also, note that men see many more Medicare patients, an average of 512 per male doc and only 319 per female doc. Why is that? Are females less willing to see Medicare patients or less able to take on more of them as clients? And if you see more patients, don’t you charge for more services? This is a troubling article, one that doesn’t look at the quality of medicine and the reasons behind why procedures are being performed, but rather, wonders why women docs are getting less money than men from the government Medicare program.

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Cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (7)
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After some rapid calculation, I worked out that if male doctors saw 319 patients on average, like their female colleagues, they would be paid an average of $74,000, roughly a sixth more than their female colleagues, and, as has been stated, this could well be simply because there are more men in the expensive bits of medical care.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
“This certainly begs the question of whether men and women practice medicine differently,” Ositelu said. “The bottom line is patients may experience higher costs through doctors who bill for more services per patient."

Well if there is no better example of "begging the question" I have not seen it until now.



34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't miss your point, Ilegante. I merely expanded on it.

The type of specialities that male doctors pusue, such as heart, lung, or kidney surgery, tend to attract more elderly patients that are Medicare available. The type of specialties that female doctors pursue tend to a attract more younger patients that are not Medicare available. Hence, the discrepancy in reimbursements.

The point is that the feminist lobby is complaining about a supposed wage gap. And why? Because male doctors treat more patients who have Medicare available than female doctors do. It doesn't make any sense to complain about a Medicare reimbursement gap when male doctors are treating more patients with Medicare than female doctors are.

The larger point is that it depends on which field of medicine you choose to specialize in. If you have a brain tumor or a blocked artery in your heart or need a transplant, the odds are overwhelming that a male doctor is going to perform the surgery, simply because female doctors tend not to specialize in that.

And the feminist lobby is complaining about the discrepancy in reimbursement payments because women tend to not to choose the fields of medicine that are most available for Medicare reimbursements? It's a ridiculous argument.

Hey, veternarians make a whole lot of money. There's no Medicare reimbursements involved, but people love their pets and ranchers need their livestock. There's a lot more money involved in that field of medicine than there is in Medicare reimbursements. It's just that it's a lot more difficult to become a veternarian than it is to become a medical doctor, because an animal cannot tell you what symptoms it's experiencing.

And sports medicine, there's a whole lot of money in that. Professional sports teams pay their players millions, and they certainly want to protect their investment. They want the best surgeon available for tendon, ligament, neck, and back surgery, and almost all of those doctors are male.

If the feminist lobby was really concerned about a wage gap, instead of complaining about Medicare reimbursements, which the patients of female doctors mostly aren't availible for, they would be directing women to the fields of medicine that pay the most. But yet they complain that male doctors are making more money, and getting more Medicare reimbursements, than female doctors.

Well, yeah, the males chose the more difficult and challenging fields of medicine. So naturally they're going to make more money and receive more Medicare reimbursements. They treat more patients with Medicare. It's as simple as that.

It all depends on what field of medicine you specialize in. That's just the simple reality of it all.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"This is a troubling article…" because it shows just how far the left-wingers and pseudo-feminists will go to make a mountain out of a vacuum. Why don't we have a story that tells of the tremendous medical services gap in which female doctors have 180% more office visits with children than male doctors?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with Ilegante, men and women pursue different specialties in medicine and have different types of patients that require different kinds of care.

I mean, how many female neurosurgeons are there really? Or cardiac surgeons? Or transplant surgeons? How many female doctors go into sports medicine and perform tendon and ligament surgeries? How many perform back surgeries? How many work in trauma centers in ERs?

It's not a question of a gender wage gap, which is getting to be rather tired argument. But the feminist lobby just won't let it go, because they can't handle the reality that men pursue specialities that pay more money than women do.

There are certain fields of medicine that are more suited for women. Veternarian medicine for one, but it's a lot harder to get into veternarian school than it is to get into medical school. Treating dogs and cats pays extremely well, probably better than treating children, and if you specialize in horses and livestock that pays even better.

I think women make better doctors for treating children and young women, depending on the ailment. If the patient requires major surgery, however, no matter how young or old the patient is, the odds are heavy that a male doctor will be performing the operation.

Female doctors tend to specialize in primary care, and when a serious medical condition is diagnosed, they refer the patient to a male doctor who specializes in the required treatment or surgery, mainly because there really aren't very many female doctors in those specialities.

Also, male doctors tend to work longer hours and take on more patients. So that explains the wage gap. But the feminist lobby seems to suffer from the illusion that a female treating a child for a cold should be paid the same as a male performing a triple bypass on a heart.

I don't have a problem with female doctors. I had an ear infection once--and if you've never had one, you have no idea, the constant ringing, the loss of balance--I could barely drive to the clinic. A female doctor took one look at my ear and said, "Oh, my God!" My eardrum was about to explode. She gave me a steroid shot and some pills, fixed me up right quick. I received excellent care from her.

But when I was in a coma after a horrific car wreck, which was not my fault, beaten, burned, in a coma, a male doctor saved my life. A male doctor perfomed the skin graft on my knee. A male doctor performed the eye muscle surgery on my eyes. They fixed me up too, but it took longer because the injuries were more severe. I received excellent care from them as well.

That's the difference right there. There are only two doctors who specialize in eye muscle surgery in the entire state of Texas, and both of them are male. Why? Because it's not a specialty that females pursue.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
You may have missed my point. The article, though trying to side step to equal pay, spoke only of MEDICARE payments to physicians. This does not represent the given provider's income; it only represents that portion of the doctor's practice that is medicare billable.

The rest of your discussion about specialties and what pays more is adiaphora. My discussion of specialties was about which specialties are more or less likely to have a goodly number of over 65s in their patient base.

We beat the idiots down with cool calm facts.
ta
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Medicare = persons over 65. Many female doctors are in specialties that have fewer older patients. Family practice, OBGYN, Pediatrics and Endrocronology attrack more women than Orthopedics, GI, Oncology, Cardiac and other specialties with higher incidence of older patients.

I am NOT saying this is bad. Women doctors (including my own primary care provider) do as good a job as they can...and any focus that capitalizes on innate qualities, like patience with small children, is a job well done.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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