Physician Salaries & Health Policy
Yesterday was a blog for the scientifically-inclined among us. Today is for the policy wonks. As you can tell, I truly try to keep this daily blog diverse and interesting. I appreciate that no one is going to be interested in every single entry, but I figure that, if I cover enough territory, there will eventually be something for everyone. I have written before, especially around the time of the recent Supreme Court decision about the health care law, about national heath care policy. Whatever your views, I expect that we all agree there is already a crisis, and that it will only get bigger if we don't make some changes and find thoughtful, careful ways to reduce costs. This is a really interesting (at least to me) article from the Wall Street Journal. The fact that it came from that paper is interesting in and of itself. If you read it, you will see that it is quite critical of societal values and pay/bonuses for some business, financial, investment, etc people.
The issue of salaries is always a hot one. As women, we are all too well aware of the gender gap in pay. Those of us who work in human services, public service, and fields that have traditionally been female-dominated are particularly aware of this negative pay differential. Don't get me started on social work salaries! Physicians have always been well paid in our country, and most of us think that is appropriate. If you dig a bit deeper, you find that there are huge differences among physician salaries. You likely are aware the primary care physicians/internists, pediatricians, and psychiatrists, among others, are not so well paid while some specialists make lots of money. Specialists who do procedures (e.g. surgeons) and who bill per procedure do especially well. Doctors in private practices make way more money than those who are on hospital staffs. I know this year's graduating Fellows from our Hem/Onc training program (a three year course) have gone on to a number of diverse settings -- research labs, academic medical centers, private practices. The salary differential among them is several hundred thousand dollars.
With that rant, here is the beginning of the article and then a link to read more:
OPINION: WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 19, 2012, 7:11 p.m. ET
Doctor Pay and Social Priorities:
Med-school grads make less than business-school grads, and take on far more risk. Is this model sustainable?
By JOHN SCHNAPP
The most recent graduating class at Harvard Business School, 925 freshly minted MBAs, was culled from an initial applicant pool of 10,368, a success rate under 10%. After two years of study for which tuition alone is approximately $100,000, they took jobs whose average compensation was $120,000 plus median signing bonuses of another $20,000. Sixty-four percent of them migrated to consulting and finance.
Harvard's medical school admits 165 new students each year from an applicant pool that was 5,031 last year, an even more selective 3%. Their studies last four years and cost more than $200,000. From medical school they begin residencies of four years or longer at salaries that start at around $50,000 and escalate gradually each year toward $60,000. Meanwhile, the interest on their average medical school debt (in excess of $100,000 after financial aid) continues compounding.
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