August 18th, 2020

// Gender Pay Gap Confirmed Among Physicians

Gender Pay Gap Confirmed Among Physicians

TORONTO, Aug. 18, 2020 /CNW/ - In the largest study of its type in Canada, the Ontario Medical Association has identified a 15.6% unexplained pay gap between male and female doctors. 

The OMA examined OHIP billings from 2017-18 which included nearly all doctors practising in Ontario and adjusted for certain factors, such as years of experience and work outside of business hours, to create an apples-to-apples comparison and found a gap of 15.6% in daily billings that it cannot explain.

"The gender pay gap is an unfortunate reality that crosses all sectors" said OMA CEO Allan O'Dette. "With this report we can start to address how it impacts physicians. Hopefully, this work will lead to better equity not only for doctors but for all women."

Significant variation in the unexplained billings gap was identified across specialty, geography, and practice setting (private vs. hospital). These differences may be important to understanding how to better combat pay inequities. 

The unexplained gap was the highest among general and family practice physicians at 19% and lowest among surgeons at 10.2%. The gap was highest in a semi-urban setting (19.8%), and lowest in rural settings (10.1%) with urban landing in the middle (13.5%). 

"Pay Equity is essential to ensuring that we have a diverse medical profession" said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. "We have seen in many sectors that there are huge benefits to end users when there is increased diversity. It would follow that patient outcomes will be improved by diversity in their physicians."  

Further study is needed into the definitive causes of the unexplained gap as well as potential solutions. Possible drivers have been identified during physician consultations including, patient characteristics, referral networks, fee codes and coding practices, mix of services, and other factors reflecting societal gender-biased expectations and systemic discrimination. OMA leadership is committed to deeper dives into identifying the causes and working towards system-level approaches to solutions. 

There are four recommendations in the paper:

  1. OMA Leads Schedule of Benefits Reform 
    The OMA should take a leadership role to revise the Schedule of Benefits in a way that better reflects the work required to perform each service. Any revisions should be considered through a gender lens to ensure that all physicians and patients are advantaged equally by the changes proposed. 
  2. OMA Advocates for Pay Equity 
    The OMA should launch an advocacy campaign directed toward health system partners (e.g., hospitals, medical schools, etc.) to raise awareness about the gender pay/billing gap in medicine. The campaign could promote fair and equitable career advancement in medicine and institutional policies that promote equal pay for equal work. 
  3. OMA Advocates for Expanding Opportunities for Female Physicians 
    The OMA should work to expand opportunities for female physicians (e.g., leadership development and networking opportunities) and medical learners (e.g., mentorship opportunities and career planning). The OMA should take steps to ensure female learners are not subjected to a hidden curriculum of inherent bias. 
  4. OMA Advocates for Improved Benefits for Ontario Physicians 
    The OMA should advocate for access to benefits and supports similar to those enjoyed by other professionals (e.g., improved parental benefits would lessen financial burden associated with family formation and would benefit both male and female physicians).

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario's 43,000 plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario's health-care system.  

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association


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