Physician Compensation in the United States – Through the Lens of the MS Neurologist

Joseph R. Berger, Thomas P. Leist, Benjamin M. Greenberg, Kottil Rammohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review:: To explore the elements that are typically considered when determining physician compensation in the United States and to examine if the compensation of neurologists with expertise in multiple sclerosis (MS) care is commensurate with that for other neurological specialists and medical specialists that also employ complex therapies, e.g., oncology. Recent findings:: The complexity in the diagnosis and management of MS requires increasing specialization. Additionally, changing models for the delivery of MS care has resulted in the MS neurologist generating significant contribution margins. In fact, the revenue to compensation ratio for the MS neurologist may be significantly higher than that of any other discipline in neuroscience service lines. However, while the contribution margin is often a key justification of compensation of interventional and intensive care practitioners in neuroscience service lines, it is generally not considered in the MS neurologist's compensation. Compensation models for MS neurologists typically depend heavily on the absolute number of relative value units associated with evaluation and management (E&M) codes making other fields of neurology financially more attractive to trainees.: In considering the shortage of MS specialists, the demands of their discipline, and the revenue to compensation ratios, the MS neurologist is significantly undercompensated relative to other neurological specialists and to physicians in other disciplines. Compensating the MS neurologist appropriately and supporting the necessary infrastructure for MS care will likely attract more trainees to this discipline and help reverse the current scarcity of MS neurologists in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102847
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - May 2021


  • compensation
  • contribution margin
  • multiple sclerosis
  • relative value units

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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