Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

We’re Number One!

By Roy Benaroch, MD


Here it is, folks: the annual Physician Compensation survey from Medscape/WebMD. Pediatricians made it to number one!

Number one, that is, for the least paid doctors. We’re right on top when it comes to making less than other physicians. The top three lowest paid docs are the three primary care physicians: pediatricians, family medicine, and internal medicine.

The highest paid doctors are radiologists, orthopedic surgeons, and cardiologists. Why the big difference? The top-paid docs are the ones who do the procedures. They catheterize things and poke scopes into you. They line up their patients and cut and poke and cash the checks. Radiologists don’t even have to talk to their patients—they just mumble a dictation and move on to the next film.

I’m not sure that this system works out the best for patients. I talk, and explain, and discuss, and explain some more. I spend most of my time talking. All of that time, to the insurance company, is just yapping. Hopefully, my patients and their parents leave my office better-educated, reassured, and able to handle things. What they don’t leave with is a big bill from a procedure.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had one patient, a teenager, who has missed a lot of school because of belly aches. I’ve spoken to him, and his mom, and the GI specialist, and the ER doc multiple times to coordinate care and make sure nothing was missed. I’ve talked to the school, I’ve written letters to the guidance counselor. All of this helped my patient get back into his usual routine. None of it paid me a dime. Here’s the thing: the financial incentives in place don’t reward doctors who talk and explain and coordinate. I could have made more money freezing off a single wart than I did for about three hours of phone calls.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my job, and I’d do it for even less money. But the American penchant for action—for doing something—is part of the reason our health care system is so expensive. Paying doctors for keeping people healthy, rather than doing things to them, might be one way to reduce health care costs while improving our wellbeing.

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP at 11:00 am

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.


WebMD Health News