(revised on 12/29/2015, new info underlined)
Previously I wrote about physician salaries after Medscape magazine reported the annual physician salary survey. In it I explained how doctors are paid and where other health care dollars go. It became one of my most viewed posts.
My fellow physician blogger Dr. Kristen Prentis Ott has compiled a report detailing how people make a living in health care. The report lists the earnings of different physician specialties , and other healthcare professionals, including nurses and the length of training required by each job. You may not have personal friends who are MDs or DOs but I bet someone in your family or social circle works in another of these professions.
Before you read Dr. Ott’s piece, I’ll explain about doctors’ income.
We don’t get salaries in the strict sense of the word. While some physicians may have a set annual salary, or hourly rate, most physician income is based on how many patients they treat; office visits, surgeries, procedures, xray or lab consultations (which can be remote, so called telemedicine).
For most doctors, income is directly tied to how many patients we see in a given day, month, or year.
I found some of these income figures surprising. The income for primary care doctors, that is family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics seems high to me, at least for where I live ( there are regional differences in what doctors are pain, even within the same specialty). Physicians are paid while in residency, which can last from 3 to 7 years, depending on specialty. Residents receive a yearly salary, which is far below what they will earn in practice.
Absent from the chart in Dr. Ott’s post are the support positions, those people in a hospital or clinic who don’t have medical training but whose work enables the rest of us to do our jobs.
These include receptionists, customer service reps, maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, security, human resources, billing and coding.
Nor does it include IT (information technology) professionals; the use of medical computer devices and applications, called medical informatics, is now a specialized profession.
Also missing are dieticians, nutritionists, chefs and kitchen support.
Other occupations directly or indirectly contribute to health care. If you make a living in health care , please tell us about it in the comments. Add your income too if you want.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (U.S. Department of Labor) –
The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024.
Most of the fastest growing occupations are in health care.
I appreciate everyone who devotes their life to helping me and other physicians deliver quality health care in our communities. Despite all the challenges, I think we have picked the most noble profession . Thank you.
Doctors and other health professionals don’t always make a living practicing medicine or nursing . Find out why here.