Double Discrimination, the Pay Gap in Gynecologic Surgery, and Its Association With Quality of Care

Katie L. Watson, Louise P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this commentary, we describe historical and other influences that drive "double discrimination" in gynecologic surgery-lower pay in the area of surgery that boasts the largest proportion of female surgeons and is focused on female patients and explore how it results in potentially lower quality care. Insurers reimburse procedures for women at a lower rate than similar procedures for men, although there is no medically justifiable reason for this disparity. The wage gap created by lower reimbursement rates disproportionately affects female surgeons, who are disproportionately represented among gynecologic surgeons. This contributes to a large wage gap in surgery for women. Finally, poor reimbursement for gynecologic surgery pushes many obstetrics and gynecology surgeons to preferentially perform obstetric services, resulting in a high prevalence of low-volume gynecologic surgeons, a metric that is closely tied to higher complication rates. Creating equity in reimbursement for gynecologic surgery is one important and ethically required step forward to gender equity in medicine for patients and surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-661
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Volume137
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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