A shrinking pool of specialists in fields such as cardiology and hematology/oncology and growing demand for their services is pushing up salaries, according to Cejka Search, a physician search firm in St. Louis.
The company, formerly Cejka & Company, reports the annual starting salary for a hematologist/oncologist in 2001 was $200,000, but by 2002 it had reached $300,000, a 50% increase.
Similarly, compensation for radiologists rose from $300,000 in 2001 to $350,000 in 2002, Cejka says.
The company lists dermatology, gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and otolaryngology as shortage specialties in addition to cardiology, hematology/oncology and radiology.
"The dearth of physicians in key specialties is far more acute and global than is generally realized," the company reports.
In the release, Cejka President Carol Westfall reports that many specialists are retiring while the number of newly minted doctors from fellowship training has fallen off in recent years, partly because some specialties have lengthened training time.
For instance, nearly two thirds of cardiologists are over age 45, the company reports.
The company specifies declines in numbers of fellows in training in the following specialties:
- cardiology fellows down by 24% from 1995 to 1999 and by 3% from 1999 to 2001
- gastroenterology fellows down by 19% from 1995 to 2002
- pulmonology fellows down by more than 55% from 1995 to 2002