Family doctors can barely make a living

Dr. Ronald Sroka examines a patient, Joseph Walsh, at his family medical practice.

From the NY Times:

More and more doctors are finding themselves barely able to make a living after rising costs of insurance, and less reimbursements, constant negotiating with insurance companies require hiring more staff to assist in the management.

Dr. Sroka used to earn about $250,000 annually in the 1990’s, and as much as $324,000 in 2006. But in 2008, he cleared $97,000, and with working a third more hours, he was able to increase it to $130,000 last year. To break even, he has to see 3 patients an hour, a fourth to actually turn a  profit. He says that today, he couldn’t give away his practice if he tried.

Today’s younger generation of doctors are choosing to join medical groups, rather than opening their own practice, which used to be the goal of medical professionals.  They earn a fixed salary, are focused on work-life balance, aren’t attached to beepers, work 36-40 hours a week, and don’t have the close relationships with patients we are used to.

This article was incredibly sad to read.  It’s such a reflection on today’s culture  – we’re becoming so accustomed to the big franchises taking over everything. I also see this happening with restaurants, and businesses in general – hubby and I were thinking about taking a short trip before I started my new job, and we were looking for restaurants to check out.  It was so difficult to find a “mom n pop” restaurant – there were certainly those that had the star chefs, but we were looking for fun hole-in-the wall places. It looks like most closed because of increased competition, the recession, and rising costs, so the big franchises were the ones who survived.  Sad.

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2 thoughts on “Family doctors can barely make a living

  1. I love finding mom and pop restaurants. Most of my favourite restaurants are little hole in the walls that I have found through word of mouth over the years.

    It’s sad that family doctors are not valued, as they used to be. But I don’t usually use my family doctor, either. Moving around so often, I just go to a walk-in clinic whenever I need to see one.

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