Despite digestive problems being extremely common, afflicting as many as 1 in 5 Americans, gastroenterological practices, like most other medical practices, saw fewer patients in 2020 due to COVID-19. While the worst business days are considered over for some gastroenterological practices, others continue to struggle to match previous compensation levels.

The “Medscape Gastroenterologist Compensation Report 2021,” details several key findings as it relates to gastroenterological income levels in 2020:

  • Average gastroenterologist income was down $13,000 from the $419,000 mark set in 2019, with 59% of gastroenterologists reporting at least some decline in compensation.
  • At $406,000 of average income, gastroenterologists are ranked seventh in compensation among all specialties surveyed, just above oncology at $403,000 and just below Radiology at $413,000.
  • COVID-19-related pandemic factors such as job loss, reduction in hours, and reduction in patient volume were cited by 96% of survey respondents who saw a drop in income.
  • Gastroenterologists reported spending more time on paperwork and administration, with 15.2 hours spent in 2020 versus 14.3 hours spent in 2019.
  • Despite working about the same number of hours per week, gastroenterologists are seeing fewer patients, with an average decline of about 10%.

The compensation report also detailed some positives, including:

  • The average payment among gastroenterologists who received a bonus was 15% of total salary, the same percentage as the previous reporting year.
  • Gastroenterologists, on average, achieved 73% of their potential bonus, which is a somewhat larger percentage than physicians do overall.
  • A slight majority of gastroenterologists, 55%, said they feel fairly compensated.
  • A large majority of gastroenterologists, 93%, would choose the same specialty if given the option to instead pursue a different field of study.

Of the respondents cited in the report, 61% identified as male and 36% female. All respondents were required to be currently practicing in the United States to be eligible to complete the online survey.