NYTimes.com: Medicine’s Top Earners Are Not Doctors
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times // May 20, 2014
THE BIG BUCKS ARE IN OVERSEEING THE BUSINESS OF MEDICINE
EDITOR’S NOTE: The healthcare consumers’ mythical presumption has always been that when they write that ever-increasing check for their healthcare insurance premium, deductible or copay that they are subsidizing the big homes, the luxury cars, the country club memberships, private schools and lavish vacations that are purportedly staples in the lives of the “rich” doctors who serve them.
Physicians have commonly been the scapegoat for rising healthcare costs in the U.S. for years. Some critics have suggested that physicians’ incomes and the fact that physicians direct up to 80 percent of healthcare spending are the real culprits in the steady spike in healthcare costs. However, a close examination of the data indicates that this blame is misplaced, and physicians are not necessarily the principal beneficiaries of healthcare spending.
In the eye-opening New York Times article excerpted below, it is revealed by digging deeper into the key components in healthcare spending that medicine’s top earners are not necessarily taking direct care of patients, but on the executive and administrative side of the “business” of medicine.
— Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief
NEW YORK TIMES — Though the recent release of Medicare’s physician payments cast a spotlight on the millions of dollars paid to some specialists, there is a startling secret behind America’s health care hierarchy: Physicians, the most highly trained members in the industry’s work force, are on average right in the middle of the compensation pack.
That is because the biggest bucks are currently earned not through the delivery of care, but from overseeing the business of medicine.
The base pay of insurance executives, hospital executives and even hospital administrators often far outstrips doctors’ salaries, according to an analysis performed for The New York Times by Compdata Surveys: $584,000 on average for an insurance chief executive officer, $386,000 for a hospital C.E.O. and $237,000 for a hospital administrator, compared with $306,000 for a surgeon and $185,000 for a general doctor.
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