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As a Family Physician working in a safety net clinic I have never in 20 years made the "median salary" for my speciality. This is not really a problem until we need to recruit a new doctor and find that starting salaries have skyrocketed beyond what our current physician staff is paid.
If a primary care doctor sees a reasonable number of patients each day from a variety of payment sources (Medicare, Medicaid, self-pay, private insurance) and bills for those services, he or she has a hard time making a "median salary." The practices that can pay such salaries usually are heavily subsidized by hospitals (which value primary care doctors as sources of referrals to their specialists, imaging, lab, and inpatient services) or insurance companies (which recognize cost savings of primary care), multi speciality clinics (which need primary care doctors to to refer to their specialists), or the government (such as in Community Health Centers).
The result is that even as fewer medical students choose primary care, those that do are likely to be employed in a setting that subsidizes their salary because of the current payment system that rewards procedure-oriented specialties at the expense of cognitive-oriented primary care.
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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