To our patients, colleagues and neighbours:
With the inclusion of physician fees in Alberta’s “Sunshine List” release, Albertans may have questions about our compensation. Diagnostic Imaging physicians or Radiologists are the medical experts with special training in the planning, supervision, and interpretation of medical imaging tests like MRI and CT scans, mammograms, X-ray, and ultrasound, and issue the final/official report on your record. Radiologists also provide minimally invasive, image-guided procedures such as biopsies, angioplasties, and precise injections for pain reduction.
The gross payments to Radiologists and other physicians in the Sunshine List that come from the Schedule of Medical Benefits are not doctors’ incomes. This is especially true for Radiology, where these payments are how Alberta funds its highly respected network of community diagnostic imaging clinics: Albertans have access to over 100 clinics across urban and rural locations, providing over 600 installations of medical imaging equipment to serve our patients, and performing the majority of the six million-plus exams per year within the public system. Our system does not function without the work of community diagnostic imaging clinics, which also provide good quality technical and health care jobs to approximately 2400 Albertans during these challenging times (not counting the doctors.)
Total payments to Radiologists go first to cover the high costs of providing these services, with only what is left over being available to pay the doctors themselves: the gross payments listed for individual Radiologists have little or no correlation with their actual take-home pay. Instead, these numbers and the wide range in them reflect the different degree to which Radiologists might work in community clinics where these costs must be absorbed by the doctors, versus hospital where the total costs are similar or higher but mostly covered by AHS and not disclosed. Radiologist take-home pay is quite consistent within Alberta, with Radiologists in other Provinces, and with many other Specialists. Suggestions to the contrary are likely under-informed or misrepresent the data in ways that are counterproductive.