The Trials and Tribulations of a Doctor
“Hello, my name is Christopher Trojak. I am the son of Dr. Joseph Trojak, a wonderful physician, friend, and human being to many people in the West Chester area. Tragically, my dad died the evening of Thursday, October 20th, a sad loss to the world as he was truly a giving man with huge and wonderful heart. While trying to cope with the unimaginable loss and tragedy of losing my father, my mother, my brother and myself have lost our jobs and total source of all our income. My dad had a minimum life insurance policy that will barely pay for the cost of his not even elaborate funeral. He had no investments, no backup plans, and owns no assets. We cannot even sell our house because the landlord at our medical office has lien on it. I hate to get on here in front of the world at this time of incredible grief and ask for monetary help, it seems shallow and degrading to me, but desperate time calls for desperate measures, in all honesty we are desperate.” There was a lot more said but you get the drift. I was traveling out of the country when this occurred. Reading this brought tears to my eyes, I had known Joe for close to thirty years, he may not have been a great business man, but not only was he great doctor, he was also a great colleague and a friend who always had a smile on his face and I will miss him.
Being in a private practice myself I can assure you this can happen to anyone of us. If the CMS holds back payment or some natural disaster like a fire strikes one can go bankrupt in days. The way medicare is set up, private practices, especially smaller ones are bound to fail. Larger groups can negotiate better payment contracts and can withstand difficult times better. Moreover, CMS pays a lot less for procedures done in private offices as compared to hospitals.
Is it worth while, all the hard work and time one puts into becoming a doctor, and trust me it is a lot of work. Recently, there was an article online, in Best Medical Degrees, you can google it and get the exact numbers, but the end result was a doctor makes three cents per hour less than a school teacher. And even though doctors are usually thought of as significant contributors to the health care cost, data shows that doctors salaries and compensation makes up less than 12% of the total cost of health care.
Unfortunately, doctors are poor advocates for themselves, but like Dr.Trojak they give all of their time and energy for patient care, and are relentless in their patients care. Every time there is a concern about increased costs, physicians are the first to get reimbursement cuts, even though that cost is minuscule in the bigger scheme of things. Drugs and equipment costs which contribute a lot more to the budget are not as vigorously pursued because they have better advocacy. Nickle and diming physicians not only puts tremendous stress on the primary health care giver but may affect the patient care that you want from your doctor to be healthy in mind, body, and soul.
Despite all the hard work and stress physicians go through, one thing has remained a constant, nurses and doctors remain at the top of the list of most trusted professions and we should take great pride in that.
I am hoping Dr. Price who will be the president elects health secretary will have more empathy for doctors since he is third generation physician and has been in private practice and knows the trials and tribulations of a private practice physician and who has been backbone of healthcare in this country.
Mian Arshad Jan