After 17 years as a neurologist and part-owner of a private practice in St. Petersburg, caring for patients with everything from migraines to multiple sclerosis to massive strokes, the bottom line showed that his earnings were half what they were six years ago. And he saw no signs of a turnaround.
This isn’t a problem unique to only neurologists, either.
An article in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine said the percentage of specialists in independent practice has declined 18.6 percent since the mid 1990s. Primary care doctors have also been migrating to larger groups or jobs as employees of hospital systems or HMOs.
The days of hanging a shingle and practicing independently are having the final nails drove into their dusty coffins as we speak. Now that Obama is in office and spouting “reform” everytime you turn around, I certainly see physicians making the transition from entrepreneur to (underpaid) employee in my crystal ball.
Dr. Franklin’s son speaks up in the comments on the article. I like what he has to say:
As Dr. Franklin’s son, I would like to speak from our personal perspective on his issue. Firstly, my father always wanted to teach. Secondly, he never cared about the money; we live well even with the pay cuts. This article is not about money.
Also, in reference to other doctors, this mass exodus of Florida’s healthcare is a byproduct of all of the legislation against them that YOU, THE PATIENT, supported. It’s a two way street whether you like it or not. Also, I’m becoming a lawyer.
Going to school for 8 years and another 3-7 years of postgraduate training to work for the government just doesn’t seem right.
But, I do think that’s where it’s headed.