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Analysis of Surgical Residents’ Salaries and Associated Funding During Eight Residency Training Cycles: Toward Improving Future Residents’ Benefits and Compensation

Published:September 15, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2022.08.011

      Abstract

      Introduction

      We aimed to investigate the trends in surgical residents’ salaries across the nation and by region from 2014-2015 to 2021-2022 to identify areas for improvement in resident benefits and compensation.

      Methods

      This is a retrospective study investigating the trends in US medical resident salaries from 2014-2015 to 2021-2022. Residency salary was analyzed over time, by region, and between surgical specialties both unadjusted and adjusted for cost of living. Salary by surgical specialty was collected from available years 2014-2015 to 2019-2020. Trends in residency salaries were also compared to the trends in graduate medical education (GME) Medicare funding.

      Results

      The average resident salary/cost of living ratio did not significantly change over the study period (2014-2015: 0.96, 2020-2021, 0.96, P = 0.654). The South and Midwest had significantly higher average resident salaries than the Northeast (P < 0.001) and West (P < 0.001) after adjusting for the cost of living. The average total GME Medicare funding per resident increased significantly more than the average resident salary ($12,278 versus $4540, P < 0.001). The average general surgery resident salary (2014-2015: $57,000, 2019-2020: $61,500, Δ = $4500) increased significantly less than the average salary of all specialties (2014-2015: $51,586, 2019-2020: $57,191, Δ = $5605, P = 0.001).

      Conclusions

      Residency salaries have increased marginally from 2014-2015 to 2021-2022 and remain below the average US cost of living. Residency salaries vary significantly between surgical specialties and by region. Discussions aimed at reformulating GME compensation that takes into consideration regional differences in cost of living are needed.

      Keywords

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