Demand High But Medical Specialists Not Finding Work In Canada

Medical Billing & Coding Specialist Salary Overview

The oncologists are not alone. Medical organizations say physicians in a half-dozen or more specialties are facing unemployment or underemployment, despite the countrys continuing shortage of doctors and long wait lists for many medical services. Its really frustrating, said Dr. Shaun Loewen, 36, who recently finished his five-year residency in radiation oncology. I want to start working and treating patients. Thats what the public has paid me to do and thats what I want to do. Unfortunatley, if I cant find those opportunities in Canada, Ill have to look elsewhere. Some of those stymied in their job search are trained in areas like oncology and orthopedic surgery where governments have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to expand services and reduce patient delays. But while provincial governments have paid to train more specialists in those high-demand areas, hospitals and health regions often lack the money to hire them once they hit the job market, experts say. Others argue there is a disconnect between the divvying up at medical schools of specialty training positions, called residencies, and the real-world patient demand for the graduates various services. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons which oversees and sets standards for medical specialties has already catalogued a list of high-unemployment specialties. It includes not only oncology and orthopedics but cardiac surgery, nephrology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, otolaryngology the ear, nose and throat field and public health and preventive medicine. We thought, Wow, this is a really surprising list, said Danielle Frechette, the colleges health-policy director. Its paradoxical to have ongoing issues with wait times and cancelled surgeries and able-and-willing bodies to meet those unmet needs (who cant find work). The Royal College is currently surveying recently graduated residents on the issue and has so far discovered that one in five have failed to find full-time work, prompting them to take locums temporary fill-in jobs for absent doctors work part time, or return for further, sub-specialty training. Half the 1,500 respondents to a recent survey by the residents association reported they were moderately to extremely concerned about finding work, said Dr. Adam Kaufman, president of the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents. The group has even started a program, Transition into Practice Service (TIPS) to help get positions for newly trained specialists.

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Larger institutions tend to pay more than smaller practices, according to Payscale’s Median Salary by Company Size Charts . Opportunities for advancement Medical billing & coding specialists can advance to supervisory or managerial roles through experience. In private practices, medical billing and coding specialists can advance to office management and administrative roles. Others advance by teaching medical billing & coding courses. Medical billing & coding specialists with a few years of experience can consult or contract. Some will consult or contract full time, while others pick up additional shifts as supplemental income. Typically hourly consulting/contracting can be higher paying alternatives, though those options often don’t include benefits. Others may move to health care accounting/finance roles by earning a bachelors or masters degree. There are also opportunities for medical billing and coding specialists to advance to insurance companies, especially those who have earned at least a 4 year degree. Benefits and perks Health care, paid time off, pension, education reimbursement, sick days, insurance, bonus, and taxes increase the total compensation package by an average 32.9%**, bringing the median total medical billing & coding specialist compensation to $47,412. Salary negotiation tips Negotiating salary can be tricky. Large institutions (hospitals, government health agencies, or private companies), typically set up a salary range (or salary band), so the organization will have a little room to move on salaries (about 5-10%). Smaller organizations are less likely to have as much wiggle room on salary.

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