Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Physician compensation plummeted in the opening weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April 2020, but earnings had rebounded for many physicians by the end of the year, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2021: The Recovery Begins.

Almost 18,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties told Medscape about their income, hours worked, greatest challenges, and the unexpected impact of COVID-19 on their compensation.

When the pandemic started around March 2020, "a great many physicians saw reductions in volume at first," says Robert Pearl, MD, former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group and a professor at Stanford University.

Medscape's survey report shows that a staggering 44% saw a 1% to 25% reduction in patient volume, and 9% saw a 26% to 50% decline. "That is indeed breathtaking," Pearl says.

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