I'm lucky to have met and worked with some really smart people during medical school and residency. One of them was one of my residency directors -- Dr. Robert McNamara, who founded the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.
Besides being an excellent clinician and teacher, the guy simply "gets it" when it comes to standing up for the physicians who work in the trenches.
A recent article he wrote--which I'll link to at the bottom of this post--unabashedly lays out the no BS truth about what emergency medicine physicians give up when they sign contracts with groups that collect fees for them and leave them in the dark about what's being billed on their behalf.
Dr. McNamara eloquently states:
"Think about it; pick your favorite (or least favorite) highly paid pro athlete, and ask yourself if he would ever say to his agent, “Negotiate my salary with the team, and then keep that secret from me and pay me whatever you want.” This is exactly what we do when we have no idea of the fees paid on our behalf. We get some kind of ballpark idea about what sounds like a good salary and accept it. We have no clue about the actual amount of revenue we generate to establish where one's professional compensation should lie."
While he's referring specifically to emergency medicine physicians in the article, I'm going to broaden this to most physicians in this country--whether you're a surgeon, hospitalist, or almost any other specialty.
Here in Atlanta, for example, about 10 years ago about 30% of physicians worked for a hospital based group and 70% were independent. Now that's reversed so that 70% work for a hospital based group since a number of hospitals have bought out smaller independent physician practices in the area--from cardiologists to radiologists to pulmonologists. And that number continues to climb.
Once you sign on the dotted line, you've officially given up control of your pay and your autonomy as a physician.
Now I realize that for many of you, spending your hours dealing with the headaches of running a medical practice isn't what you want to do. And for some your net pay might actually be higher by selling out.
But this gets to the root of one of the problems in medicine today: You have let other entities dictate what you do, how you do it, and when you do it. It's not just contract management groups and hospitals. The biggest offender of all is the government.
That's even before you sell out.
Do you think Tom Brady doesn't know what the New England Patriots are paying him?
Or that Tiger Woods lets his agent collect all of his endorsements and blindfolds himself from the pay coming in, relying solely on his agent to disburse to him what his agent thinks he should get?
But doctors do this every second of the day.
The worst part of all this is that you just accept it.
"That's part of doing business" or "That's just how medicine is now" are the pathetic excuses I keep hearing.
And I know why.
You see, most physicians haven't built up enough assets to say "Screw you. I'm outta here. Pay me what I deserve on my terms, and then MAYBE I'll think about working again."
If you think this isn't true, then ask yourself this: If you had $10 million in the bank right now, would you continue to let all these other pickpocketers slide their hands in your bank account?
So when it comes to taking exams doctors indeed have much higher test scores than the general population.
But when it comes to making money--and then also managing money--perhaps we should watch more ESPN instead of attending the next CME conference.
If you're one of the rare physicians who wants to start getting your autonomy back, it starts with getting your finacial life and investments in order.
Your first step is to set up your second opinion financial consultation right now by clicking here:
Warning: if you're a physician who has no intention and no desire to get your autonomy back, then do yourself and me a favor and do not sign up for the consultation.
Only serious docs should bother.
Here's a link to Dr. McNamara's full article: Doctors Are Dumber Than Pro Athletes.
I assure you that you'll learn more from that article than at your next hospital committee meeting.