Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Recently there was a controversial article called "Health and Wealth" in our little local paper that investigated how much money is made in the hospitals in Maine. It actually went around the country via the AP. In order to keep my job I will bite my tongue on how much some of the administrators make. To be fair, I was also blown away by the amounts certain physicians make. A neurologist doing epidural steroid injections making $800K a year? You are kidding me. Anyway, this puts all docs in a bad light. Patients don't understand that we all don't pull that kind of cash in. Not even close. In a related story, the WSJ just shed some light on the burden of student loans by illustrating the case of one family practitioner, Michelle Bisutti. She started out needing $250K and now it has ballooned to $550K. To be honest, it looks like she screwed the whole thing up herself but even so, the story is a sad one. I know guys in primary care who owed around $200K and were getting some student loan repayment from their jobs and STILL owe a lot of money 15 years later! It takes forever to climb out of that kind debt. Add to this that you have lost your youth to training for this career (which are prime earning years) and the fact that you probably have a young, new family, and you can see why most medical students choose NOT to go into primary care.
On a personal note, I was truly naïve about earning potential when I was a medical student. I really knew nothing. No one in my family was a doctor. No one gave me advice. It came down to physiatry (physical medicine and rehabilitation) or family practice. I chose the latter because I wanted to be the Marcus Welby kind of doc. It turns out the former type of specialty is the one that does all those epidural injections. Doh!!!
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 6:11 AM