Rema Shah, BS
Sidharth Tyagi, MS
Saral Mehra, MD, MBA, FACS
Yale School of Medicine ;
Introduction: This study aims to provide the first longitudinal analysis of disparities in industry payments by gender for practicing, compensated otolaryngologists between 2014-2017, specifically investigating differences by industry payment subcategories and geographical distribution.
Methods: This retrospective study used publicly available data from the US Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments Database to collect industry payment records and location of practice. Provider webpages were used to classify all compensated, practicing otolaryngologists between 2014-2017 by gender. Mean and median payment amounts received were stratified by gender, region, and type of payment and then were compared using Kruskal-Wallis and Independent Samples Median tests.
Results: The proportion of male otolaryngologists who received industry payments was significantly higher than females in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Male physicians also received higher overall mean industry payment amounts than females ($168.23 vs. $150.41, p<0.001). By subcategory, mean industry payment amounts were higher for male compared to female otolaryngologists in Education ($514.53 vs. $189.03, p<0.001) and Consulting fees ($2423.38 vs. $1651.19, p<0.001). Regionally, mean industry payment amounts for male otolaryngologists were higher than for females in the South ($156.37 vs. $85.36, p < 0.01) and in the West ($232.52 vs. $138.76, p<0.001). In the Northeast, mean payment amounts to female providers were higher than for males ($308.44 vs. $138.13, p<0.001). Additionally, 90% or more of industry payments in categories such as Investment Interests and Grants were given to male otolaryngologists. These categories accounted for some of the highest mean payment amounts provided.
Conclusions: There were significant gender differences in industry payments to male versus female otolaryngologists between 2014-2017. This data can help keep industry and the medical community accountable in an effort to reduce the institutionalized and industry-induced causes of the disparity.