Radiology rising demand falling income
Highly paid radiologists may not generate much sympathy, but their world can change. The steady rise in their salaries seems to have hit a wall, and in fact, they may have actually decreased due to some changes in reimbursement rates recently
After a few years of rising salaries, radiologists are experiencing a sharp drop in income. The constant rise in their salaries seems to have hit a wall, and in fact they have actually decreased due to changes in reimbursement rates recently. Even before health care reform was adopted, radiologists’ incomes fell and the recession also had a negative impact on the bottom line. This situation is not limited to jobs in radiology. In the US hospitals, more patients were treated without insurance or the possibility to pay their hospital bills last year. Bad debts have increased while donations have decreased. Although there is a gradual shortage of doctors in the United States that can worsen as a majority of the population, baby boomers, age and their need for medical care are increasing.
At a time when education costs are rising and in some states like California the rate of debt repayment is declining rapidly. This means that some doctors have to consider what job they can afford to get out of their home or scholarship. Doctors have always been able to bear the burden of their long and expensive training because in the end they knew that their future earnings would cover their debts. What happens if we, in our rush to cut healthcare costs, destroy our top students’ ability to take this path?
The slowing economy and aging population
At the same time, a study shows that there is currently a shortage of diagnostic radiologists in the United States. The 1998 American College of Radiology employee recruitment survey found a deficiency of 600, but others see technology reducing the deficiency as radiologists are able to perform more efficient procedures.
The US is aging. Between 2010 and 2035, all age groups over 70 will increase by over 95%. This means that all health services are in greater demand. It is estimated that a third of today’s practicing doctors will retire by 2020. There are approximately 30,000 practicing radiologists in the United States.
The recession and massive job loss across the country have had a direct impact on doctors’ revenue stream. If people lose their jobs, they also lose their health services and thus access to healthcare. In addition, manufacturers of high-tech imaging equipment could have great success if government insurance payments for such tests are reduced. Lower reimbursements can cause hospitals to rethink their $ 1 million imaging equipment purchase.
The recent stock market collapse has had a significant impact on the retirement provision of older doctors. Some radiologists are delaying retirement due to the impact of the economy on their retirement plans. But a delay of a few years also corrects the loss of experienced doctors. This shift has resulted in fewer jobs being offered and graduates not finding as many opportunities as before. Residents opt for Radiology Locum jobs and wait before committing to full-time employment instead of committing to less desirable jobs now. So in the short term there seem to be fewer good jobs.
Health care reform
Another uncertainty is the result of the national health care reform. If health care reform actually helps increase health insurance coverage, the aging population and these increased numbers should boost demand for services in the long run and therefore increase costs. However, no one knows yet what will happen to Medicare reimbursement rates. There have been some reductions in radiology that affect all disciplines, including jobs in interventional radiology.