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Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid
May 1st, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Seriously? Doctors say they're underpaid

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.

Full disclosure: I have no complaints about how much I make.

But many other physicians are not as satisfied - a recent study by Medscape revealed that 49% of doctors believe they're not fairly compensated. Of primary care physicians, this percentage increases to 54%.

It’s no myth that doctors are some of the highest paid professionals in the country. So why are they complaining?

It’s likely because of situations like Dr. Peterson’s.

Dr. Peterson is a plastic surgeon whom I worked with during my residency. A kind, competent physician, his new, fledgling practice consisted of reconstructive surgery. He treated women with breast cancer, paraplegics with pressure sores, and burn patients.

I was the on-call plastic surgery resident one night when a 42-year-old man - let’s call him Dave - was brought into the hospital at 3 a.m. He had fallen off a roof while intoxicated. Dave broke several bones in his face and shattered his lower leg.

I stumbled out of bed and met Dr. Peterson in the ER, where we spent the next three hours assessing Dave’s injuries and repairing his lacerations. Five days later Dr. Peterson and I performed an eight-hour operation, reconstructing his broken facial bones and performing a muscle transfer to help heal his fractured legs. For the next two months, we visited Dave in the hospital each and every day, changing his bandages and making sure he healed properly.

Not once did Dave thank Dr. Peterson for his care.

Instead, Dave took more than $3,000 from him.

Close scrutiny

Quite possibly no other occupation in the country receives such attention regarding the income its members receive. And that’s not a new trend - more than 70% of respondents of a survey published in the 1985 American Journal of Public Health believed doctors were overpaid.

The Medscape survey found the average physician compensation now ranges from a high of $315,000 for orthopedic surgeons to a low of $156,000 for pediatricians. Sounds pretty good right?

Consider that physicians must complete at least four years of college, four years of medical school, and between three to eight years of residency training prior to becoming a real, practicing doctor. Many physicians don’t start earning “doctor-level” salaries until they are well into their 30s.

A 2009 survey by U.S. News found the typical medical student graduated with $141,132 in debt. The graduates of some schools averaged more than $200,000 in loans.
So how do doctors’ salaries compare with other well-paying professions?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer and information system manager earns $125,660 per year. The average lawyer makes $130,490 per year. Orthodontists take home $204,670. The New York Times recently reported the average base pay for managing directors at Morgan Stanley is $400,000. At Goldman Sachs, it’s $600,000. The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million. NBA players average $5.15 million per year.

Just for putting a ball in a hoop.

When you consider these numbers, the thought of pediatricians making $156,000 a year doesn’t seem unreasonable. They often see 50 patients per day, answer our calls at all hours, and keep our kids healthy.

What about critical care physicians? They average $240,000 a year, but are responsible for keeping the sickest of us alive. One-quarter of critical care physicians spend more than 65 hours per week with their patients, not including time doing paperwork.

Unlike most other professions, there is a ceiling to what most doctors can earn. Physician compensation is tightly controlled by the government and insurance companies. Medicine is also the only profession where its members are required to sometimes work for free.

No return on investment

Which brings us back to Dave.

Three months later, I accompanied Dr. Peterson in his clinic to see Dave for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Peterson seemed a bit distracted. At the end of the visit I found out why.

“I’m glad you’re doing so well, Dave,” said Dr. Peterson.

“Yeah, I’m really happy with how things have turned out,” he replied.

“So Dave, this is a little awkward for me, but I need to ask you something. Two weeks ago your insurance company sent you a check for $3,200 to forward to me for all my surgical and office fees.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, um,” Dr. Peterson stuttered. “We never received it from you.”

“No, you didn’t. I cashed it and spent it.”

“Dave, why would you do that?”

“I figured you’re a rich doctor. I need the money more than you.”

What do you think? Are doctors being underpaid? Tell us in the comments below.


soundoff (2,177 Responses)
  1. NotDave

    Dave should've died.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul Sanford

      My doctor starts at 5 AM and gets home about 7 PM. One weekend a month he is on from Friday morning to Sunday night. One weekday a week he is on for 36 hours. He works 100 hours a week. His yearly pre-tax income is $200000. He is a primary care physician. If you give him time and a half for every hour over fifty hours a week he is making just over $30 an hour.

      Perspective is always good.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • dani

      doctors can get sued for ANYTHING, whether they do something wrong or not. they are not overpaid. do you seriously want an disgruntled, underpaid doctor operating on you? they should be paid a lot because they literally hold our lives in their hands.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • bill

      If people would stop smoking, drinking to excess, speeding, or other activities that endanger their health, doctors wouldn't be necessary. That commercial from Holiday Inn, when the patient does his own appendectomy, with instruction over the phone should say it all. What is a life worth..That what a doctor should get paid, but I forgot, we all live on the doll ans expect EVERYTHING for free..I hope the doctor took Dave's house, car and anything else..Nothing in life is free...What's you or your child's life worth..maybe that will make more sense..

      May 1, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • DeeOhGee

      Are doctors in this country overpaid?...yes. I have family members abroad who are in all fields of medicine (X-rays, nursing, bacteriologist, etc) and their salaries are nowhere remotely close to those of the doctors here. Is there a huge overhead and inefficiency in the system? ABSOLUTELY. Insurance companies are raking it big while we all pay for it.
      Do doctor salaries compare to those of MBA, NFL, and Goldman managers?...of course not, but those are different professions. For that sake, not even our president's salary compare to them, so why make the comparison to those on the far right in the distribution?.

      If you consider the salary that a doctor makes to people in fields where their jobs demand

      May 1, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • zoonib

      My doctor shares an office with another and they have 5 waiting rooms. One doctor works Monday, Tuesday the other works Wednesday to Friday. The cram people into those waiting rooms for 10-12 hours. Guessing at illness and not listening to patients. Talk = Time = money. They work for 10 months and take 2 months off, plus all the normal holidays. Money seems to take a front seat in present times.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • doc

      A wise man told me, "if you're good at something, you charge a fee". Doctors are good in their perspective fields and that's why they get paid the big bucks.
      On a side note: a Raiders fan will gladly pay $200 to watch a game live but will they pay the $50 co-pay in the ER? The priorities in this country is so out of tune that people don't know what's important anymore. Then they start blaming everyone except themselves. They blame the doctor, the lawyer, the police, the list goes on. The insurance company should compensate the doctor directly instead of sending the check to Dave. Can I tell you one thing: doctors don't go to med school to get rich. It's the worst route to get rich believe me. And don't judge doctors because they got a nice house and nice cars and expensive jewelry. They earned every penny through all those sleepless nights trying to save your mom from breast cancer, treating your dad for prostate cancer, your brother from diabetes, your sister from kidney disease, your grandma from Alzheimers.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • Reader to doc

      Did " one wise man" tell you that you should charge a fee for a really effective treatment and real results , not for endless " follow ups" with no or very little improvement ? Why docs can get away with all these full charges for the same diagnosis( most likely incorrect) and non stop office visits ( some time just to inform about the result of the labwork)? Because he is one of the tools for the money making machine called health care.

      May 2, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  2. Adam

    It's amazing to me that people are saying this article is exaggerated or made-up. Apparently none of you have ever known a doctor. Doctors and lawyers are in sort of the same boat. They go to school and into debt, they take up extremely difficult and stressful professions, work long hours, all for the benefit of others... and then are often are criticized and chastised for their work, and have people constantly complain that they earn "too much".

    Grow up people. Get some perspective on life. These people work hard hoping to help others.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Degrin

      A lot of people do work that helps others and don't make nearly as much. Look at nurses who make a fraction of what doctors make. Not sure how this adds to your argument.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • ArizonaRattleSnake

      Lawyers helping people. What planet are you living on?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • delong1974

      If by nurses making a fraction, you mean they average $78,000 per year nationally for a fraction of the training (nursing school = undergrad +1 year), and none of the insurance costs doctors have to incur, then sure.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • JAnderson

      Wow! Your description sounds just like a teacher.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Probably because nurses don't graduate with $200,000 in debt and get anywhere near the extensive life saving training that doctors receive? "Just a guess"

      May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Schminke

      Adam, nicely stated....in fact..persons often complain about Doctors AND Lawyers.....until THEY NEED ONE!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • JenniferUCD

      Teachers work long hours. They work all day with hundreds of kids, many of which disrepect and ignore them. In fact in the city I call home, teachers are often threatened with violence for just trying to establish control over their classrooms. Then they go home to grade papers and make lesson plans. Many also coach or tutor on the side. Yet they don't have a fancy degree to show the world how important they are. We depend on teachers to educate (and sometimes babysit) our kids. Then every parent who is too busy to spend time working with their kids on homework turns and complains that teachers are the reason their kids fail. And for all this they average less than $80K a year, driving used cars and paying for school supplies out of their own pockets. So cry me a river Dr's of the U.S.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Jennifer: Thanks, that made me laugh. Yeah, Teachers are sooooo comparable to Doctors. They get how much training exactly? They work how long exactly? Please with this "coach or tudor" on the side. Oh wow! Now that's certainly worth of a doctor's salary! Yeah!

      Please, the teachers in my area are contractually obligated to work 9:34 to 2:12, and have 3 months off every year. It's not saving lives, even trying to compare the two is completely asinine.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      ArizonaRattlesnake: Sometime find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and see how quickly you want to call an attorney to HELP you. (Then, if you can't afford one, one will be there for you anyway.) Treated unfairly at work? Hmmm....might need an ATTORNEY to HELP you so that you don't get "taken". Want to make sure your wishes are carried out after you die? Better get an attorney to HELP you. Nurse left a sponge in your body during your surgery that explains that horrible pain you've been having? Yep, you guessed it, you'll need an attorney to HELP you. You are a fool.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • zoonib

      Many teachers have masters degrees and get paid $50k, many engineers get paid $30-50K and many working class Americans are unemployed. So this article sounds like a case of bad timing.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Mike: if you think that teachers work from 9:34 to 2:12, and have 3 months off every year, you are delusional. And the work they do DOES save loves. They save lives every day they care for a child who has crummy parents (a lot of U.S. children). To some of those kids, their teacher IS their parent and a better role model than their parent. They go to college for four years and must have ongoing education to keep their credentials current. Again, another fool speaking out their a- -.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Codpiece Jim

      With the success of students in this country at things like simple math and English, most teachers are incompetent and should be fired. How's that?

      Teaching is the easiest job in the world that has a regular salary with advancement, benefits, and vacation time. Teachers are the last people who have any right to complain about their income.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  3. John

    DO doctors have medical school debt closer to $300,000 on average.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Degrin

    I was seeing my doctor for regular follow up visits about 2-3 times a year for follow ups for a previous condition. I saw the doctor for no more than 5-7 minutes. I spent 45 minutes in the waiting room each time to see my doctor for 5-7 minutes. I was charged a little over 100 dollars for an average of 6 minutes with the doctor. That is $1000 dollars an hour for his time. Sure some of that is overhead, but 1k per hour is still unreal considering what I get out of it, which is basically nothing. The whole healthcare system reeks of inefficiency.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr. Steve

      You are making several erroneous assumptions. One is that just because the doctor made $100 for your 5 to 7 minutes means he makes $100 every 5 to 7 minutes. That is wrong. I assume you don't have insurance – if you do the fact that the doctor CHARGED $100 does not mean he GOT $100. For Medicare, say, a simple follow up visit like yours, coded as a 99212 would bring in about $35 – even if the doctor charged $10,000. Medicare fees and virtually all insurance fees are set ahead of time. Only self-pay folks wind up dealing with the full, unvarnished and inflated charges.
      The next false assumption is that your follow up for a chronic problem, which took 5-7 minutes of face time, is the only kind of visit your doctor deals with. In my practice, I had adult physicals, child physicals, simple follow ups, minor surgeries, new patient visits etc. Any primary care doctor deals with hundreds of folks with hypertension/diabetes/heart disease/high cholesterol/kidney damage/stroke/MS – or virtually any combination thereof. These complex cases take quite a bit more time and don't pay much more. Also, there is plenty of unpaid work in a medical practice: phone calls of any sort, pre-authorization forms, physical forms, letters to disability insurers, certification for home care services, forms for handicap parking priviledges, writing out 90-day supply prescriptions for mail-away pharmacies, etc, etc, etc.
      It may seem like griping, but it is the reality of practice, and that is why I left.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • alan, M.D.

      It will be much more efficient under Obamacare.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • zoonib

      Some doctors make great money and some make bad money obgyn. Usually the great doctors have their choice of practice and those who don't do as well take the less lucrative practices. This is no different than professional sports in they strong players see strong money and the weaker players see little to no money. The amount of money available depends on the economy.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  5. Ricky Bobby

    One of the dumbest articles/arguments yet. Because other "jobs" have unreasonable pay outs, you should too? I guess then anyone who comes out with a four year degree and has loans deserves six figure salaries. And I guess that doctor isn't going to go after good ol' Dave, huh? Right.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shammalammadingdong

      They'll put his bill into collections and get every penny if it's the last thing they do.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • johnmd

      Im an MD, you cant go after people who have nothing....it costs more to get a lawyer than the fees you recover....Doctors often take on a significant amount of charity work, part of the job!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • LAURIE

      Your comment shows a complete lack of understanding of the system. Doctor overhead is about 65%, so of the one hundred dollars you were charged, the doctor gets about $35 from the insurance company. And then he gets about $20. Most of the physicians work about double the time you actually see them, writing notes and doing other miscellaneous and related things. So they really get about $10. And then many of the patients do not pay the bill or the insurance portion goes to the deductible which some patients don't pay either. So that $10 goes to $8. Don't you think that 10 minutes of the time of a professional with about 12 years of college he paid for is worth the cost of a Starbucks coffee and a roll?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • JR

      Your name sums it up perfectly. I love it when people with no perspective pass judgement. These same people are more than interested in telling everyone how things are or should be, without earning any of the knowledge required to take up their arguement. Let me guess, you are in the Tea Party as well? Yeah, thought so.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      First of all, it is not a four year degree, it is a six year degree, then followed by a 3 to sometimes 10 year residency in which residents make minimum wage, working anywhere from 60-120 hours per week. Get over yourself. Doctors work incredibly hard to get to the point in which they can finally earn a decent salary, which doesn't occur until many are well into their 30s. And all of that to end up paying 100s of thousands of student loan debts. Ungrateful people just have no concept of hard-work and dedication

      May 1, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      That's right, blame it all on the patients because they don't appreciate the 10 minutes of service they get for their 8 dollars. What a total disconnect from the patient experience. And then you all have the nerve to insult them! Is that included in the 8 dollars? The 8 dollar problem isn't your patients...it's the health care system that employs you.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
  6. USA401

    This doesnt even get into the massive amount doctors have to pay for insurance. Patients are dumb and greedy like Dave and will find any excuse to sue to get free treatment. Its funny how this country is so scared of Public health when every patient that walks through to door doesnt want to pay their bills.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Shammalammadingdong

    There are some doctors who are complete morons and try to be know-it-alls. They entered the medical field for the money and scraped through med school. They are content to do the bare minimum, and overbook their offices for what amounts to rushed patient visits and improper diagnosis.

    There are others that know their stuff and deserve every penny. They are knowledgeable, passionate, and skilled, and have made every effort to excel in their field. These are the physicians who truly care about medicine, and know what it means to help people live better lives.

    That's just the way it is.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JR

      scrape through medical school, are you serious?! Posts like this make me wonder why we don't require a test of our citizens befroe they are allowed to vote. You obviously should think about finding a job, and quit spending time explaining to others things you clearly do not understand.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • Capt. Obvious

      In other words, they're just like anyone else doing any other job since jobs existed. What's your argument? The bad doctors shouldn't make as much as the good ones?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  8. Staunch Republican

    Can Dr. Peterson not sue Dave for that $3200?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B33TLE

      He shouldn't have to sue - the check should have been sent DIRECTLY to the doctor's billing office.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • JAnderson

      Good luck collecting.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  9. Mark D

    This is hilarious. The brunt of the health-care crisis results from exorbitant doctor's fees. My dermatologist charges the insurance company a couple hundred to spray a spot with nitrogen– a one-second procedure. If I want a skin defect addressed myself, he'll charge me 50. Until doctor's salaries are cut in two, we'll all pay the price.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • johnmd

      another idiotic comment by a person who has no idea how the health care system works!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • Bprince

      The issue is not Doctor's salaries. The issue is the tortious environment that we live in and the fact that people can sue for anything. In turn insurance rates are out of control. So in reality the public causes the high prices they pay for medical care. I will agree that the medical system is broken, but its not all their fault. And people should not be punished for working hard and becoming sucessful.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      Better yet, stop going to the doctor ,who likely has a very busy schedule already, and see how that works for you. Get a medical education, spending 4 years in college, 4 years in med school and then extra years in residency (derm = extra 3-5) and start to treat yourself. Maybe after all that you'll get a little perspective on what it's really like instead of whining about how easy doctors have it. Heh, I'm sure you're happy enough spending 100's of dollars on going to your favorite sporting event to see your favorite team play and it doesn't phase you in the least that the players make twice (or more) than your doc. How many lives have they saved or injuries/illnesses have they helped to treat?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • DrT

      This has absolutely nothing to do with doctor's compensation. The reason why your dermatologist charges the insurance company so much is because insurance companies only pay a fraction of the cost that they are charged. So for instance, if the actual cost of the procedure (materials, room, etc.) cost $100 but you know the patient's insurance company is only going to pay 20% (and yes, that is being generous) of what you charge, then you bet the doctor is going to charge the insurance company $500 to ensure that he gets paid at minimum for the supplies rendered during the procedure. This has nothing to do with physician compensation and everything to do with insurances. We in fact don't want to charge that much but are forced to in order to stay afloat.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    I'm not going to downplay the importance of doctors. We tend to criticize them left and right, but we call them when we're feeling badly. While there are some people who don't pay their bills after a doctor's visit, we do have to consider that $3,200 dollars to someone who makes $30,000 is different to someone who makes $300,000. Lets not forget in the article we were talking about a guy who fell off his roof because he was drunk. While the doctor can reconstruct somebody's face and perform all of these miracles for a mere 300,000 a year, let's consider the Nurse who received him in the ER for 40,000 a year, Ambulance driver or EMT who brought him to the hospital for 11 bucks an hour, or the dispatcher who picked up the line on 911 for 8 bucks an hour. Lets put it in perspective.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KL

      Yes, lets keep perspective. The EMS worker transported him. The nurse check him in, collected his vital signs, game him meds. The doctor FIXED HIM. And the doc is the only one who didn't get paid. Lets keep perspective.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • KL

      And keeping (stealing) someone elses money is just WRONG. No excuses, income level is irrelevant.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • YourfutureDr

      I'm confused by your last sentence stating that something was put into perspective... because obviously your statements weren't perspective. You can't compare a nurse/EMT to a doctor and try to say they are underpaid. They go to school significantly fewer years, have shorter shifts with less knowledge necessary, fewer expenses (licensing, board exams, CSE credits, etc), and carry ZERO liability... when they leave the hospital after their 8-12 hour shift 5 days a week they are done with work. They play a valuable role in healthcare but by no means are they physicians. Next time you are in a car accident I would appreciate it if you ask for the nurse to provide your full treatment. If you decide to have a midwife deliver at your home, dont come rushing to the hospital if something goes wrong and make me carry liability on you and your child for the next 18 years. If you are upset by physicians pay then please, don't pay us, don't come see us, because you obviously don't appreciate the time missed watching my sons baseball game on saturday mornings to come and suture you up in the ER because you thought that it was ok to jump off the roof at a party. Talk to my family and see how much they would value an hour with me... I guarantee my wife would gladly give up 100 dollars an hour to have a sunday dinner with me. Sacrifice and dedication deserve to be rewarded in one way or another.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      You must also remember that it's the doctor that bears the largest liability for medical care. That's why they carry malpractice insurance. Hospitals are usually included in law suits since they may or may not carry the physician's malpractice but they may also be found culpable for other reasons. You RARELY see a nurse get sued unless her treatment is so egregious and harmful to the patient; she is usually following the doctor's orders for the patient's care. The EMT/ambulance driver wouldn't get sued unless they caused some other harm that wasn't part of the original injury/illness. One thing thing the majority of people seem to forget, or likely ignore, is the costs that the insurers attach to medical care. Does anyone care about what the top level administrators in hospitals or insurance companies make?? What do they contribute to the patient's healthcare?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  11. inachu

    Doctors are caught in red tape from insurance companies. Doctors now do more paperwork than doing what they were trained to be. A DOCTOR! Blame all these managed health care companies and blame all the people who file lawsuits at the drop of a hat. Get rid of these managed health care systems and let the doctors do their jobs then they will see more patients and will in effect see more people.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EP

      Amen! Insurance companies make our doctors spend more time in front of a COMPUTER doing paperwork than in front of us PATIENTS providing care. How's that for messed up?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
  12. Pymoladdict

    Another bait article? Seriously, comparing MD's salaries with that of bank managers and NFL players? What about we compare these salaries with that of academic postdoctoral scientists? MDs to PhDs. You know, 4 years of undergrad school, 4-7 years of graduate school, and then postdoctoral bliss... NIH postdoc guidelines start them off at 39 364$ and skyrocket by the year 7 all the way to 54 180$. That's NIH guidelines for biomedical sciences, sort of apples to apples. So cry me a river.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • johnmd

      How many hours did you spend 80 hrs/week doing your post doc? Please, I have friends with post doc degress, not exactly hectic! Plus when you guys get out you work 9months for a six figure salary, get your mandatory vactation, and of course your fat pensions after 20 years of work....cry me a river for the phd's!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • SpacePhD

      I totally agree. NASA pays a bit better but still not much. And johnmd, I don't know any researcher that only works 9 months out of the year. Even tenured professor who teach all semester do research in the summer.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • scarf

      I have both an MD and a PhD in Biochem. You really are comparing apples to oranges. The NIH post-doc positions are the equivalent of a residency for MDs, which pay on the order of $35K to $50K. Having done both a post-doc and a residency, I would say both require about the same number of hours.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  13. Tr

    I'll take the $75,000 I'll make as a clinical psychologist and be happy with that. As for someone cashing an insurance check rather than paying the bill, isn't that fraud? A thief is a thief. I hope that jerk gets prosecuted.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Yalzie

    Take a look at your salary as a doctor, then look at the salary of your average teacher. In NY (and many other states), teachers have to gain a Masters Degree to stay certified, and are expected to spend significant amounts of time 'off the clock' (grading, planning, creating assessments, meetings, professional development, and much, much more), and are even expected to spend personal money (from their meager $40-$45k on average salaries) on their classroom and students.

    You want to talk about under-compensated? Spend some time in a K-12 classroom as the teacher. I look forward to the article on that.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Jobs pay what they pay based on supply and demand; if you don't like the pay for a given profession, then go into one that you do like the compensation.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • johnmd

      Simple, you are paid by the degree of difficulty it takes you to get your degree and the degree of specialization. There are a lot more teachers than there are doctors because it is a lot easier to get your education degree than an MD....Dont get me wrong, I love teachers, but you do get paid a full years salary for 9months work, cant get fired because of the union, and can retire at 50 with a nice pension, so please, no teacher sob stories!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
  15. zsabre2

    Wait, I thought doctors became doctors to save lives and not for the money...

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      No, people like to say nice stuff like that so that the majority of the population (who makes way less money) doesn't get envious...most all people who make lots of money...make lots of money because they have come to an understanding that making lots of money dramatically improves their lives....but, pointing that out to the average person is never productive.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      Most physicians get into medicine because they love the challenge of the field and they are typically altruistic by nature...that means we like to take care of others. The long hours and dedication to learning to enter the field demands reciprocity in pay. Do you believe that any physician would do that for minimum wage? Some physicians, like some plumbers, lawyers and investment banker are in their field to bilk others out of their money but it's the rare doc who actually starts out on the path thinking they're doing it "for the money." It's an awful long and expensive road just to do it for the salary that's controlled by insurers, etc. unless you're commiting fraud in some way.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
  16. realtalker1

    Doctors are paid highly for their knowledge and skill. I certainly wouldn't want to run tests on myself and interpret them and certainly for that they should be highly paid but how valuable is the knowledge anymore? The knowledge is available to everyone. Most illnesses can easily be determined before ever going to the doctor. Most of the time when I go it's to get a prescription, not because I need to know what's wrong. I can tell if I have the flu, I can tell if I have a bacterial infection and need an antibiotic. I was even able to figure out what was causing my intense chest pain before ever going to a doctor. It was an esophageal spasm. The same knowledge available to doctors is now available to the rest of us. So what is that knowledge worth really? Not much unless you're dealing with something extreme and serious, in which case it's worth everything.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DO2013

      It is clear that you have never been truly sick or ill. The science and art of medicine is a skill that is fostered and developed with time through studying, patient interaction, and countless competencies. I am currently a medical student who is in the process of becoming a physician, and I can tell you that it is not what the general public thinks. If you ever took a medical school course or went through the process, you would know it is not easy as 1,2,3. True, any Tom, Dick, or Harry can diagnose a cold or sinus infection. But it still takes a trained professional to treat that. Bacteriology and resistance problems are ever changing and the Amoxicillin isn't going to cure everything, and as physicians we keep this in mind. Also, discerning an esophageal spasm from achalasia or a more serious problem like angina or acute myocardial infarction is an intense work up, that not everyone can discern for themselves. I know if I had a issue like that, I wouldn't be able to discern it based solely on symptoms. It would take an upper GI series to look for strictures, troponins/CPK for ischemia, 12 lead EKG, as well as addressing other vital signs to ensure that the patient is stabilized. Degrading physicians to being comparable to WebMD is a disgrace and narrow-minded. In the medical field we embrace patient empowerment and knowledge. It is refreshing that a patient may come in saying I think I might have X, Y, or Z. Does it mean that my job is done for me? Absolutely not! It is taken into consideration and it is then taking a thorough history, physical, and appropriate testing to ensure that serious things are ruled out, and that the proper diagnosis is made. Having a smart patient also is good because, they are more apt to following through with treatment, as well as understanding possible adverse complications as I educate them further. I can also tell by your ignorance that your are young. Older people have more complex health issues that require precise tailoring to that individual patient, that a algorithm of a computer can't manage. So the next time you have an esophageal spasm, and if it feels like it is tearing through your chest or to your back, remember you might be having a dissecting aortic aneurysm, and the last time I checked, it requires a cardiothoracic surgeon to treat it.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  17. David

    test

    May 1, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. vertabreaker

    News flash, 99% of the country feels underpaid.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Codpiece Jim

      99% of the country are lazy.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  19. Jack

    I think this is completely outrageous. Doctors are one of the highest paid employes and they have enough as it is.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • oldpatriot

      You don't know Jack – jack!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
  20. Perhaps it's time to change medial school to a 4 year degree

    Perhaps the US should look toward changing the medical education. In China, India, and several other countries an MD is a 4 year undergraduate degree. Now I know that some people are going to get angry about this and say that our doctors are better, or that system would never work. However, when these international doctors come and do residency they aren't deficient in skills compared to US trained doctors. Also, I would like to point out that the preventative care in China is actually better than in the US because the cost of medicine is not as high so people are more likely to see a doctor for a minor issue instead of waiting. I don't think this system would ever be passed here because Doctors like their job to be prestigious, and they like the exceptionally high pay scale that they justify by excessive education.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • oldpatriot

      Thanks but I would prefer to have an overly educated doctor when it comes time fgor me to be out cold on the table and the doctor hovering over me with a scalpel!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Tim R

      We had to deal with several of those during my mother's extended illness and honestly they didn't know a *damn* thing! And they were VERY, very dangerous and had to be taken off of her case by those who knew what they're doing. A four-year undergraduate degree is literally child's play compared to an actual four-year Medical Degree in the United States.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
    • premed

      I can't say that I agree with you. I am currently a pre-med student about to graduate and go to medical school. There is always talk about changing the system, none of which I think ever will or should take place. I know I personally wouldn't feel comfortable being a doctor without the basic science knowledge I learned as an undergrad. Adding to that is the vast amount of medical knowledge I will need to learn in the next 4 years of my life. Changing the undergraduate degree to a medical one would require changing the high school curriculum as well to be more science heavy for pre-meds, forcing high schoolers to make career choices, probably for the wrong reasons. I think I can speak for all of my classmates in saying that at 22, none of us have the maturity (even if we think we do) to make medical decisions even under the supervision of an attending physician.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  21. Degrin

    The author of this article makes it seem like Dave is the normal customer. Plus the 3k can be recouped by the doctor through litigation. I know a few doctors personally and none of them are hurting for money, or living uncomfortably.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Josie Behnke

    My uncle is a doctor. He didn't start actually practicing till I was almost 14 years old. I remember many Christmas's at his house and Thanksgivings where he was on call and had to leave to go treat a patient, prepare for an emergancy surgery, etc. In fact I think only 3 or 4 years ago he FINALLY paid off all of his loans...and is taking in all his income. While in school he had two kids to raise and his wife as well. It's not an easy profession, and a very unforgiving profession. Yes he makes decent money now, but people also forget the mal-practice insurance and supplies and such. My uncle is partnered in a clinic, and it's not cheap by any means. My cousins and me use to debate on who had it worst, a father who was a doctor or a father who was an officer in the military (want to talk about not getting paid enough for the job you have to do)

    May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • plantedinthelowcountry

      Father in the military... I got to see my father more after he left private practice and went into the military. And that includes when he was deployed for months at a time...

      May 1, 2012 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
  23. WhiteSites

    The problem with healthcare is its not an open market.
    Ask the average consumer, how much for a gallon of gas, or a pack of cigarettes, or pair of sneakers. Most people know the price of goods and services are. But with healthcare, the consumer is kept in the dark. IF you want to fix healthcare then you have to get rid of the free hand outs for the poor and elderly. People need to pay out of pocket, so that the cost feels real to them. Then prices will level out to something reasonable.

    If congress passed legislation that gave free plasma TVs to the poor and the elderly, with really expensive models going to the elderly who are going blind, I can promise you that the prices of TVs would skyrocket. The market would become dominant with fraud, just like our current healthcare system.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sarah Schminke

    Interesting comments...Now look at THIS side....Finish residency and 'begin' paying off 200,000 dollars student debt.....To bank to borrow 200,000 to start a practice.....work solo a few years to build practice.....recruit a couple of Physicians....salary now split 3 ways......call schedule grueling as practice has grown ..which is good...but less sleep and less time with family....Practice is 70% Medicare..Internal Medicine.....so..just as student loans and practice loans are paid off...AND THEY DID GET PAID IN FULL..income drops appreciably as Government regulates payment...After 30 years in practice...doors must close as partners using personal bank accounts to pay employees as Government restraints have made it impossible to generate any profit.......6 million.....well....we lived a good life..not a wealthy life...paid our bills and helped our kids through school..undergrad only....and no..we do not have millions in retirement....certainly not 6 million...but looking back..was the best time to practice medicine....before 'big brother' became a 4th partner!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. oldpatriot

    I hope the doctor sued Dave and refused to see him again as a patient!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Coflyboy

    So this is not about underpaid doctors, but about doctors getting ripped off by their patients. But the underlying theme continues: Something HAS to change. Make our education system AND healthcare system fair and yet affordable for all.... otherwise we will see more "Dave and underpaid doctors stories" ad-nauseum.
    The usual, status-quo, corporate-driven system is NOT working for anyone... we MUST try something else.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chuck

    "The Medscape survey found the average physician compensation now ranges from a high of $315,000 for orthopedic surgeons to a low of $156,000 for pediatricians."
    "A 2009 survey by U.S. News found the typical medical student graduated with $141,132 in debt."

    So even the lowest average physician could completely pay off their debt in three years and still pull in six figures?

    Cry me a freaking river.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      You have no clue!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
    • johnmd

      chuck, do you understand the concept of taxes? There is not a single person that can pay off a 140000 loan making 150000 a year, you would have to pay 50000 a year after taxes, in addition to accruing interest to pay the loan off in 3 years! Your actual take home on 150000 would probably be around 90-100 thousand, which leaves 40-50000 to take care of a likely family of four for most docs! It is idiotic comments and lack of education that has brought our country to where it is! Go read a book, and think before you speak!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • Whatever

      What an idiotic response! Do you keep your entire salary? Do you suppose there are no other day to day expenses. $150,000 in debt is basically like buying another house. It take 10-30 years to pay off (just like a house).

      May 1, 2012 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Oh, the poor things. Only having $50,000 left over after they pay their bills. How ever do they manage?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      Really, just replying to this and other people like Chuck, is just a wast of time...

      May 1, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
  28. Drew

    Honestly, doctors get paid a lot. They may come out of school with 3 times as much debt as a normal student would, but they get compensated twice or three times as much as a normal college student. I just think that this article is bull s**t. I feel bad for the doctor who got none of the money that he was owed, but that's not 'Dave's' problem. That would be the responsibility of the insurance company, for sending the insurance check to the wrong place. Not that Dave was right for cashing and spending the money. But it still doesn't change the fact that doctors get paid way more than all the union workers in this country. They should just run back to their 5,000 square feet mansions and SHUT UP!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      The "normal college student" goes to school for 4 years while physicians have an extra 4 more of medical school and 3-8 years more of residency before making any money while their massive loan debt is accruing interest.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • johnmd

      no offense dave, it does not take a high degree of training or specialization to become a union worker, they are tough jobs, but you are paidly adequately for the degree of specialization of your job...another example of someone who has no clue about how much it costs to make one doctor....go to another country , like somewhere in asia and see how people are paid for union type jobs....virtually nothing!

      May 1, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      You want to know something Drew? I worked as an onsite doc for a union company where the top union workers made more than I did. They were talking about going up to their cottages on the weekend to take their boats out for some fishing. You know what? I just finished paying off my college and med school loans, own one home (mortgage included) and have two kids and a stay at home wife to support. I have no cottage, boat or other significant luxury and I haven't had a damn vacation in 3 years. But do I whine about those union workers?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  29. BD70

    The Dr did the work...pay the man. It is his money not yours regardless of how much you think he makes.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Unit34AHunter

    All I need to see is the cars they drive, the homes they own, and the substantial vacations they take. Their standard of living greatly exceeds that of most Americans. They are, therefore, overpaid.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Danielle

      So a doctor who may someday save your life should be paid the same as your plumber?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      Again, another clueless person who ignores the time, devotion and cost it takes to get that MD and finally practice, not including all the restrictions/fees placed on the physician, most of which is payment by insurers, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. How much outrage do you feel for the investment bankers of Goldman Sachs making several million, just in bonuses, or the high-school or college dropout pro athlete making a minimum of $700K their first year?

      May 1, 2012 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • Codpiece Jim

      Most Americans are lazy. Nobody should pay you extra to be a warm body that holds a mop.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  31. chf

    "Two weeks ago your insurance company sent you a check for $3,200 to forward to me for all my surgical and office fees.”

    I've never received money from an insurance company to forward to a doctor/hospital. What kind of scam is that?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      This is very common, actually. A doctor who might not be an in-network provider on a plan does not have a contract with the insurance plan. Even if he agrees to accept what the insurance company pays, the insurance company in some cases reimburses the patient based on the allowable out-of-network fee with the expectation that either the patient is supposed to endorse the payment over to the doctor, or that the patient is supposed to pay the doctor his full fee and take the insurance payment as partial reimbursement. For instance, if the doctor's fee was $4000 (perfectly reasonable for saving Dave's leg from amputation, wouldn't you agree? Or would you take $4000 to let me cut your leg off?), and he is not on Dave's insurance plan, there would be two conceivable pay structures: 1. Dave pays the doctor all $4000 of his fee and then Dave's insurance pays Dave or 2. The doctor agrees to take the $3200 that Dave's insurance contract says that Dave would get reimbursed for the doctor's fee and effectively gives Dave an $800 discount. Instead, Dave turned around and robbed the doctor.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  32. Jimmy

    In my experience the insurance company pays the doctor directly, not the patient who then should pay the doctor. I'm confused why this would happen.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whatever

      If the physician is out of network, it is standard for the insurance company to send the money to the patient. It is however, very rare for the patient to actually send it to the physician. It is a stupid system.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Asked and answered. You are probably accustomed to in-network provider arrangements, in which case, yes, the doctor has a contract with the insurance company to accept the insurance company's allowable payment directly from the insurance company, supplemented by the patient's fulfillment of his obligation to pay co-pays and deductibles. Sadly, patients ROUTINELY game the system and fail to pay their portion of the fees, and doctors have little recourse. Collection efforts usually fall flat when you try to collect from deadbeats who know how to evade collection or who have no assets to go after. Furthermore, it costs enough to sue a patient in terms of lost productivity and legal costs that it is rarely worth it.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  33. Jennifer

    OK.....please. Because you spend 8 or 10 years in school you DESERVE to make 10-20 times what the average income of your patients are. Really? So I got a bachelor's degree, then a master's, then got a PhD, then did a post-doc. If you are following the math that is 12 years of college and graduate school. And I also graduated with a boat load of loans (which I gladly took, and quickly paid off). So given your reasoning I should probably be making $200K-$300K a year. Right? In fact I am a college professor and make $65,000 a year. And I'm not whining. I love my job and I am happy to make a difference in the lives of my students. It's called COMMITMENT. Get some.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      Are you forced to perform your duties in an environment where every student must be considered a potential legal adversary because he might sue you for your entire life's savings and earning capacity because he gets a bad outcome or doesn't get into Harvard, through no fault of your own? If not, then your "commitment" comes with little risk and is worth a lot less than a doctor's. Furthermore, as much as I appreciate the teachers who have educated me along the way, I could have taught myself almost everything they did; I could not, however, take out my own pancreas.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • justanotherdoc

      I'm sorry, it's not the issue of doctors whining–it's the issue of misinformed people who are constantly denigrating physicians for being "overcompensated" and doctors then having to defend themselves. Why isn't there the same level of outrage for the bankers at Goldman Sachs or the overpaid athletes? I wouldn't think of complaining about a teacher's salary as I believe they are underpaid. It's the cost of college that's hyperinflated.

      May 1, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  34. AD

    Comparing the average median salary of a cis manager (well in is late 30s) to the minimum salary of 156k for a physician and calling it a fair comparison is stupid. People get paid what they deserve. Doctors just think highly of themselves due to the prejudice created by people. Every occupation is important.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Scoot

    Just like the rest of us... if you don't like your job and what you are making... Do something different?
    Most of us work long hours and callouts etc... and alot of us are not making any where near 150k, or 200k
    as far as the Dave story goes... gimme a break.. He'll be in collections or in court for insurance fraud very quickly... and why would the insurance company send the patient a large check like that thinking he would give it to the doctor... I smel B S in this story

    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Marc L. Tenzer, MD, FACC, FACP

    What is rarely discussed is the fact that the bills submitted to insurance companies are never paid in full. The doctor is actually paid a fraction of the invoice amount. Running a practice is extremely expensive. Besides the price of rent and employee salaries there are also typical expenses such as health insurance for the staff. Increasing overhead cannot be passed onto our ‘customers’ unlike any other profession or business.
    As reimbursements have continued to drop due to reductions in Medicare and insurance reimbursements over the past decade, the real income of physicians has plummeted. They are unable to keep up with inflation and are in actuality earning less every year; such that many physicians have either gone broke or had to sell out to a hospital or healthcare system.
    No other profession is expected to be available 24/7 to make life or death decisions or to run into the emergency room in the middle of the night or during Christmas dinner to tend to the sick. Doctors forgo much of their personal lives to provide this type of care. They in most cases do not get wealthy and the country club life that most people think that doctors live is merely a myth borne in the old days. No longer is that the case. Practicing medicine is a grueling but rewarding profession which should be compensated appropriately.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DN3

      Well said. I did not realize until I read this article that insurance companies send checks to clients that they can then cash themselves??? This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Fox me? Fox you!

      If doctors want to ensure they are compensated properly and fairly, start advocating for a single payer health care system where every potential patient is covered for medical needs. Unless you are willing to do that, cry on each others' shoulders.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  37. DN3

    Is this really what the average physician makes in the States? Maybe it appears lower because taxes are lower? Up here it's 46%.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Unit34AHunter

    Another observation. When was the last time you could get a doctor to declare their ACTUAL cost for a service, or tell you how much they accept from an insurance company vs. an uninsured patient service? Getting a truthful and accurate statement from a Dr. that would allow a prospective patient to compare both prices and outcomes among different doctors is more difficult than doing your own surgery. You need a forensic accountant and a search warrant just to figure out where their bulls**t fee structure meets the economic reality.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Suleiman the Magnificent

    First, the Doctor should have arranged the payment be directed to him, or that the insurance cheque was payable to both the patient and the Doctor. Second, the Doctor should have started collection procedures. Now, Don`t compare Doctors to other workers like sport figures or investment Bankers. The fact that they are so indebted at graduation doesn`t mean they have the right to charge exorbitant rates for everything they do. So, considering what they earn now, they cut a pretty ridiculous figure complaining. If they want to keep more of their money they should learn how to run a business, which most of them don`t have a clue. Lose the Mercedes and Armani suits, you will be a lot richer

    May 1, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Raven

      Love the name! I am fascinated by the Ottoman Empire 🙂

      May 1, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
  40. Vic

    Here is a reality check for you people. My father is doctor in an village in Eastern Europe. He makes $300/month and his training is not worse than that of any other doctor here in US. His job, however is more difficult than that of any other doctor here in US, given that he does not have access to an Xray machine within hand's reach and his duties have ranged from delivering a baby whose mom did not plan accordingly to be at a maternity and putting together a girl run over by a truck. So here, stop whining.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      "He makes $300/month and his training is not worse than that of any other doctor here in US." – Yet the American Boards are accepted in almost every country worldwide, and "Eastern Europe" is not, and even in some countries ONLY accepted in the country of origin. So while you think it's "no better" in the USA, the rest of the world disagrees.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • Vic

      Mike, this is hardly an argument. Put my father in an American clinic and he'll do just fine saving lives. Put an American doc in an Eastern European clinic and I he'll need to have his life saved.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
  41. Jeff Lucas

    Surgeries wouldn't cost a quarter million dollars if health insurance companies hadn't inflated the costs by paying that much.
    If the free market applied to medicine, medical teams would work for what their customers could afford to pay.

    insurance is a counterfit whose lifeblood is fear and bottom line the dollar.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. lindalockwood

    Salary should be based on IQ , that would mean Dave, Ball players, politicians and those idiots on jersey shore should get nothing.!

    May 1, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Bob

    Prior to becoming a doctor they should have a good grasp of the expectations of the job. 65 hours a week is nothing compared to people that work 70+ hours for a fraction of what they make. Exec's on average sleep less than 4 hours a night and work 70+ hours a week. I guess I'm not sure I see where this article is going, if you don't like it or are underpaid make a career change, start practicing basketball, do something else but don't cry about your 130-250k salary. Most doctors do a great job and work hard at what they get, but just because you spent the first 15 years of your adult life in school or training doesn't mean you get out of working when it's all said and done.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DN3

      The author of the article is only citing reasons why OTHERS may be unsatisfied with their levels of compensation. There is a disclaimer right at the beginning of the article.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  44. JJ

    What sounds 'fishy' to me is, WHY did the Insurance Co pay DAVE – and not the Dr submit the bill to the Insurance Co?
    I have never in my life seen an insurance company pay the patient for the medical bill instead of the doctor directly. I think the Insurance Co should be held responsible.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Coflyboy

      In America, an insurance company is responsible for.... NOTHING!

      May 1, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  45. DAVO

    If someone is really going to go to school for 8 years plus, I sure hope they are doing it because they really care or are interested in the profession. If they are doing it for the money, they are doing it for the wrong reasons, and I wouldn't want them to be my Doctor. Capitalism isn't designed to reward Doctors – its set up to reward those in the financial sectors (Big Banks and Wall-Street). Doctors, Fireman, Policeman, Teachers don't 'create' jobs and give propserity to America – Wall Street does – right?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. UtahProf

    Interestingly enough, some of the best care I have received in the last 10 years has come from a couple of Physicians Assistants in my area – good enough that I just schedule with them now and not the doctor. Some doctors are great, but the majority need to "humble up" – just my opinion based on my personal experience. It is the rare doctor that can make a diagnosis without relying on a bunch of lab work that they then read like it is the gospel and they refuse to consider any alternate explanations because you blood work is "in range" or you symptoms "don't make any sense". Those types of responses send me packing to another doctor immediately – or, more accurately, to the Physicians Assistant. Personally, I would take the consultation of a Physicians Assistant and a Pharmacist over a (typical) GP any day .... and I do. If doctors want to be paid more money, they had better bring their "A" game – of which only a small percentage are even capable of even playing.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. BobMD

    This is quite sad to see how people vent about how bad doctors are and how they are overpaid. All of you one day or another will eventually need to see a doctor whose responsibility will be to help you with whatever ails you. I would recommend that you have a physician who is more worried about taking care of you than worrying about how he is going to pay his bills. As an ER physician I feel that I am adequately paid, but I do feel that physician are overwhelmingly unappreciated. I'll offer 2 stories in my career, I trained in Chicago and during my trauma rotation I was working 100+ hours, a teenager was brought in shot 7 times, 2 in the chest, 2 in the head, 4 times in different extremities, despite the injuries we attempted to resuscitate despite our efforts he passed on. How did the family react, were they grateful we tried out best despite the terminal injuries? No they came in and yelled at the ER staff, physicians and nurses about how we killed her baby. My second story is when I worked in Miami a woman who had breast augmentation and a tummy tuck in Mexico came straight to our ER from the airport, because she had a complication with her surgery. After extensive testing with blood, ultrasound and CT scans we tried to find her a plastic surgeon that would see her, when we talked about outpatient follow up, She demanded that she needed to be admitted and she threatened to sue me if I didnt fix it. These are just two stories I mention, but I gurantee you I have a story like this about once a shift or once every other shift. To have you people say I make too much for what I make I invite you to spend 11 years of your life just training to do what we do and then deal with people such as yourselves when you are trying to save their lives. Physicians are not asking for a pay raise as nice as that would be, we are asking for an acknowledgement, or appreciation for the years of dedicated service and time we take to take care of people in need. That is something free that everyone can do for their doctor. I will offer one good story that sticks in my mind. My favorite patient I remember, she had come in unconscious after screaming that she had a severe headache, we had her in CAT scan and discovered she had an acute bleed in her head, we immediately called neurosurgery and began prepping her for the OR. Her sister I recalled demanded to know the qualifications of the neurosurgeon that was on call, in as a professional tone and polite way as possible I let her know there are no other choices at 4AM. How did my patient do? she survived fully functional and even got to go to a wedding later on in the year. What did she do that stuck out in my mind? She and her mother came to visit me in the my ER four months later while I was working to thank me for saving her life, her visit reinforced why I do what I do, it didnt cost anything to do that, but it meant so much to me.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vic

      It looks like you are a real doctor.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • DN3

      I actually believe Emergency Physicians should be compensated the most because this profession is the most gruelling in medicine in my opinion and carries health risks just due to the rotating schedule. The upside to your profession is that you don't have to see the unreasonable (I put that rather diplomatically) patients/families every day or on a regular basis, they either go home, are admitted or....you know.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Bobmd

      Haha let me reassure I still see a lot of the unreasonable demanding random tests or admission. 🙂

      May 2, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
  48. ArizonaRattleSnake

    Doctors have created an exclusive little club for themselves in order to keep their wages astronomical in comparison to other fields requiring as much or more education (engineering, teaching etc.). The fact that they put themselves through years and years of unnecessary and useless education and residency is their own doing. Doctors could be educated and trained at far less expense and exclusivity, but then wages would go down...and we couldn't have that now could we.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DN3

      There is NO profession (other that a professional student or a PhD that takes more than 5 years to complete) that requires more education than a physician, especially neurosurgery and cardiac surgery (in Canada, 10-11 post University undergraduate diploma). And if you decide to subspecialize in these professions, you're looking at more.

      May 1, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
  49. JenM

    Doctors are over-paid. And I am an emergency room nurse. However, they must make the amount of money they do in order to pay for their college loans, and malpractice insurance. You want to fix the problem? Create a system where all doctors, irregardless of specialty, make the same amount of money. Cap malpractice suits. This will eliminate needless money being wasted on greedy low-lifes who sue just to make a buck, and will eliminate doctors going into the profession for just the money. An added bonus will be the cost of healthcare decreasing. My hospital alone spends millions on needless testing in order to deter suits.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KL

      different specialties take different levels of training. Equal salaries for all specialties is not part of the solution. I want my neurosurgeon to be highly trained, highly skilled, and highly paid.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
  50. Fox me? Fox you!

    Cry me a river. Teachers are underpaid. Professors are underpaid, especially when considering ther education which is as extensive as doctors'. Without either, there would not be doctors. Also, if doctors want to ensure they are compensated properly, start advocating for a single payer health care system where every potential patient is covered for medical needs. Unless you are willing to do that, cry on each others' shoulders.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
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