An essay column in the New York Times discusses a personal reflection on money aspect of practicing medicine by Dr Sandeep Jalhar:
To meet the expenses of my growing family, I recently started moonlighting at a private medical practice in Queens. On Saturday mornings, I drive past Chinese takeout places and storefronts advertising cheap divorces to a white-shingled office building in a middle-class neighborhood.
I often reflect on how different this job is from my regular one, at an academic medical center on Long Island. For it forces me, again and again, to think about how much money my practice is generating.
I sympathize with the feeling that one may have entered medicine hoping to not worry about money. Unfortunately, those days are gone… the age where doctor’s are paid enough so that they can just practice and not worry about money have been gone for a couple decades now.
I do think that the current fee-for-service system is sick, and really needs to be fixed. I know HMO’s got a bad name in the late 80s, early 90s, but I do feel that they are a much better financial structure than the system we have now. Obviously, I’m a little biased.
I’m pretty sure doctors in general will be happier that way. I know that there was a survey of Canadian doctors which showed surprisingly high satisfaction scores when compared to their salary. I’ll need to dig up to reference, I’ll update this post when I find it.