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« Good news from Raleigh | Main | Look out below »

Jul 25, 2007


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Doug H

Is there a difference between a family-practitioner and a primary care practitioner, or are they the same?

Ed Cone

The first line of the quoted copy in the post says, "primary-care doctors, includ[e] internists, family physicians, and pediatricians..."

Doug H

Thank you. I obviously need to hone my reading skills.

The "too little money" issue is tied into the whole health care meltdown. It extends even into the education system. These doctors are buried under student loan debt caused by the extended time they are in the educational system. Not to mention the hours they have to put in with little rest.

Then there's the malpractice insurance rates. I'm curious about how much of the "accounts billable" that takes up on a percentage basis for a doctor.

And then there's the voluminous debate regarding "Sicko"'s topic matter...

What a mess!

Jim Caserta

Part of the problem is that there aren't many new medical schools. It is hard to find MD's willing to take the pay cut to work at teaching hospitals. The cost and time commitment for medical students pushes many would-be docs into law & business, but I think the time is the bigger hurdle. It'll be 10 years from getting her BS degree before my wife's medical training pays off financially.

I don't mind this - radiologists exceeding $400,000..

Triad Conservative

Other factors often militating against a choice to work in primary care, peds or family practice: a need to see high volumes from a business standpoint for those accepting insurance, and a resulting "hamster wheel" existence; these are comparative low prestige specialties; a perception among some that it is very difficult to master the entire spectrum of medical care, which these specialties require; the difficulty of managing some patient relationships and expectations; the very nature of the work, which some simply do not like.

$162,000 is still a very healthy income, but aside from the financial incentive, many of the above factors can influence decisions to head into one of the subspecialties.

I happen to think we have enough docs, nurse practitioners and PA's. The problem is that the type of insurance that is typically available, both public and private, tends to artificially stimulate demand.

Ed Cone

A cultural shift: I don't think doctors used to be so highly paid relative to other jobs, or expect it. Lots has changed, of course -- technology, cost of education, cost of insurance, prevalence of private insurance and government programs -- but I think my dad, who was a specialist in private practice from 1965-1987, was much better paid (in relative as well as absolute terms) than his grandfather, an orthopedic surgeon in a good-sized city during the first half of the 20th century.


With Eagle I can normally see my Doc in a matter of a couple hours to days depending upon my need. If referral is needed...normally another 3 to 6 days.

The GP is underpaid in my opinion for the amount of hours and care provided.

I wonder what total expenses equal when starting with $160,000?

I suspect that my prior health insurance agent/broker earns in excess of $500,000.
I don't mind it taking 8 weeks to see him....smile

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