Feel Good About Being a Doctor Today

You know what, I really need to feel good about something today and so, to start, I’d like to share an article that some doctors find encouraging,

While the title of the article doesn’t sound very uplifting, I think there might be a ray of sunshine. There’s been a lot of comments from readers, and not just within The Daily Beast forum. Many psychiatrists see the word “strike,” and think that a recommendation is being made which physicians ought to literally follow.

I don’t think most doctors really want to strike. I also don’t think an emphasis on a hardcore business model for psychiatric practice helps much either. Claims are made that psychiatrists can make $300,00 to well over $400,000 a year by hiring “physician extenders” to do the insurance paperwork, scribes to take care of the notes, therapists to do the therapy, so the psychiatrist can see 4 patients an hour. And that’s the answer for the trouble we find ourselves in these days.

Sound good?

Well, it didn’t ring true to me, so I did a little fact-checking by reviewing a fairly recent Medscape slideshow on the income of psychiatrists in the United States.

What I found is that a very low percentage of psychiatrists make that kind of money. Some may even think you can do this with a payor mix including Medicare, an interesting viewpoint which seems to ignore the Maintenance of Certification Physician Quality Reporting System of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which I’ve posted about, and which doesn’t let doctors off the hook as far as paperwork is concerned–and can take a big bite out of one’s income.

I also found that most psychiatrists really are not as interested in the money as some would have you believe. Most of us are not entrepreneurs. I’m certainly not. I didn’t get into psychiatry to become wealthy. Most psychiatry residents are not overly thrilled about the prospect of seeing patients every 15 minutes.

We want to connect with our patients. Call me idealistic or a crybaby even, if you want. But I still believe what I wrote in a guest blog post for Humanism in Medicine.

Most psychiatrists care deeply about their patients and you can fact-check that in the Medscape slideshow as well.

And that is definitely something to feel good about today.

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