This 3 page article seeks to explain why MDs are unionizing. The first 2 pages are all about their salaries! Why is it that MDs have no problem talking about money as THE issue but nurses will not stand up for themselves if money IS an issue & will slam other nurses who do???
New York Magazine
Aug 2001 -
"Time was when doctors were at the pinnacle of our society -- with the Mercedeses and country places such status merited. Now, buried under paperwork, their income chiseled by HMOs, their power and independence eroded, they feel like any other employee. It's enough to make you sick...... "Doctors are lumped in with hospital colleagues as "health-care providers," which rankles them. "I'm no health-care provider," says one, sounding like McCoy on Star Trek. "I'm a doctor."........ But "I don't have any clout." Insurance companies have clout, institutions have clout, even patients have some. And so, just like any disgruntled worker, doctors -- doctors ! -- are turning to unions. "We get more calls than we can handle these days: otolaryngology groups, orthopedists, groups that used to be fat and happy," says Bruce Elwell, an organizer for the Doctors
Council, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, the same organization that, it's worth noting, represents hospital maintenance workers. Lately, Dr. Fox, the Scarsdale otolaryngologist and lifelong Republican, has become an organizer himself. Fox has signed on with the AMA's newly formed union -- he's on the board. "The anger is still with me," he says by way of explanation, because........."
"Vacations? Are you kidding?" Mark Fox is a physician.... he used to take vacations. "Every winter and every summer," .......summer vacations disappeared....His income dropped 25 percent in one recent year.....Dr. Bernard Schayes, a 43-year-old internist on the Upper East Side,.....he lived around the corner from
the office....he had two kids and private-school bills of $30,000 a year,a Mercedes and a Jaguar. He earned upwards of $300,000 a year. Then his income dropped. "There's no way to live in the city anymore," he says. He moved to Roslyn, Long Island, where his children attend public school and he drives an Acura. "The general population decided we weren't worth all that much," says Dr. Bernard Schayes. Or, as he sometimes puts it, "people decided they wanted us to drive Acuras." .....
Not long ago, doctors had it all... and didn't have to worry about money: They earned tons. They regularly visited the Mercedes dealership. They island-hopped on vacation. They owned the best real estate. Their kids went to private schools. Everybody wanted to marry a doctor. Or be one. No longer. Insurance companies have ganged up on them....Now, announces the New England Journal of Medicine, "many American doctors are unhappy with the quality of their professional lives." feeling "increasing marginalization," "discontent," "confused," "angry," "insulted." (Is it any wonder med-school applications are down again this year?) Yes, the doctor is in, but in case you haven't noticed, there's a good chance he's seething. "It's no fun being a doctor anymore," is the way one puts it......
These days, after eight years of training, a 30-year-old pediatrician can expect to earn $95,000.
Starting internists probably earn $100,000 to $110,000. Not bad, perhaps. But in comparison, the first year at one of the city's better law firms -- that's after just three years of law school -- will bring you close to $150,000. "And I can be on vacation and I'm stil always available to my lawyer friends," points out Adam Stracher, an internist at Cornell Medical Center. "And THEY have secretaries. THEY have expense accounts. You think WE get tickets to Knicks games from our firm??"......
......doctors earn about $160,000 on average, Last year, Schayes, an M.D. approaching the height of his earning power, earned about $120,000 -- which doesn't come close to buying what people once thought of as the M.D. lifestyle. Soon, Schayes figures, his wife will have to go back to work. She hasn't worked in five years while the kids grow up. "She doesn't want to, but I'm making her," says Schayes. "Besides, she's a lawyer. Her earning potential is greater than mine.".......
From now on, doctors will be employees like everyone else. Just 4 percent of new doctors in New York say they plan to open their own practices. As an employee, the doctor has a fixed retirement age and a set lunch hour .....As employees, a lot of physicians won't have secretaries anymore, not their own anyhow. At
Mount Sinai, specialists who once had assistants now have answering machines. Yes, there's a receptionist, a billing department. But they work for the administration, just like the doctor. "I can't hire or fire secretaries," explained one specialist at Montefiore. "I have no control over staff." Sure, you can always write up a secretary for misbehavior, but then a receptionist can write you up, too. "If we say one wrong thing, they go to
the compliance office," said one doctor who was reported for raising her voice. "Apparently, I have to be on perfect behavior."
(ohhhhhhhh poor thing! The hospital is making her treat the "lower class" with respect. tsk tsk tsk)
full article at: http://www.nymag.com/page.cfm?page_id=5044&position=1