Radiologists Report Frustration with Medical Liability Issues

November 27, 2006

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of radiologists responding to a recent national salary survey reported that they are frustrated with today’s medical liability environment. Only 7 percent of respondents said they were not frustrated about practicing medicine in today’s health care marketplace.

Among the 60 percent of responding radiologists who answered an open-ended question regarding which one thing they would change about the practice of medicine if they could, 39 percent mentioned medical liability. Another 12 percent cited reimbursement issues.

“Liability issues and low reimbursement levels have forced many radiologists out of providing certain services, mammography being chief among them,” said Katie Thill vice president of, the firm that conducted the survey. “The mammography situation got serious enough that in 2004 the Institute of Medicine warned that access to breast cancer screening is threatened by a shortage of physicians performing breast imaging interpretation.”

Other issues of concern radiologists were: lifestyle issues (too much time at work) – 22 percent; administrative and business agendas interfere with clinical decisions – 16 percent; and reimbursement issues – 14 percent.

Regardless of their frustration, 70 percent of survey respondents said they would choose medicine as a career path if they had it to do over again. This compares with respondents from other specialties as follows:

– 56 percent of obstetricians/gynecologists
– 57 percent of orthopedic surgeons
– 67 percent of anesthesiologists
– 69 percent of general surgeons
– 70 percent of pediatricians and internists

More than half of responding radiologists (59 percent) said they had no plans to change jobs in the foreseeable future. However, about a third (33 percent) of survey respondents said they planned to change jobs within the next two years, almost half of those (15 percent) within six months.

Regarding physician salaries, the survey results indicate the average radiologist salary decreased by almost 7 percent, from $354,260 in 2005 to $330,100 in 2006. This year’s survey results indicate that 40 percent of radiologists earn annual salaries of $300,000 or less, with 22 percent of those earning less than $225,000 per year. Slightly more than a fourth of respondents (27 percent) earn annual salaries of more than $400,000., a full-service physician/CRNA recruiting firm, surveyed 277 radiologists this past summer for its annual national salary survey. Eighty-eight percent of survey participants were male, 88 percent were board- certified, and more than half (58 percent) had practiced medicine for more than 10 years.

To see complete radiologist survey results, visit:


Topics Medical Professional Liability

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