Why I can’t read the Editorial Page

Several years ago, when I worked daily with Patty Brown, she forbid me to buy or read a Daily Journal newspaper while at work.  This was due largely in part to my inability to breeze past the Editorial page but also because the Daily Journal is about 75%gossip and hearsay and 25% actual journalism.  The editorial page, however, was my downfall.  I just simply couldn’t take some of the idiotic opinions people felt compelled to share with the world (or at least the greater Johnson County area).  So in an effort to appease Patty and prevent my blood pressure from skyrocketing I quit reading the Daily Journal.  I quit reading newspapers all together for awhile but here lately I’ve been scanning the Indianapolis Star and the Hendricks County Flyer which is delivered to my house everyday although I don’t have a subscription.

Many times while reading these papers, I skip the editorial page.  That would have been a good idea today, but a headline for one in the Star caught my eye:  “Doctor pays price for Compassion.”  I should have known from the opening sentence that I needed to stop reading, but like the saying goes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  This editorial was written and signed (with a picture no less) by a doctor practicing in Carmel.  She was addressing/answering an editorial from a man complaining that health care costs were too high and he blamed it on doctors charging too much money.

Basically this doctor whined and complained through 7 paragraphs about having to answer her pager or phone day or night 24/7, answer patients questions, refill their presciptions and battle with insurance companies over payment.  She lamented how her family time was always inturrupted — she couldn’t even grocery shop without someone paging or calling!  And she barely gets paid 30-40 cents on the dollar by insurance companies for what she bills.  She even complained that she is losing money by giving children their vaccinations.  And according to her she’ll never be rich, she just barely paid off her medical school loans!  And then she had the audacity to say she was compassionate!

Obviously she was sick the day they taught compassion at medical school.  What exactly did she think being a doctor was about??  Did she assume that she would just go in Monday through Friday and take off early on Wednesday’s to golf and she would be paid a million dollars a year?  Is it really too much to ask for a doctor to refill your prescriptions?  Or to be able to have some access to your doctor on a Thursday night at 8pm when you think your child might be having an allergic reaction to the medicine you gave her? And I’m sure she’s never called an insurance provider during her career — not once.

I mean seriously………who does this lady think she is fooling?  Does she expect me to believe that she doesn’t have a staff of receptionsists, physician’s aids and nurses to do all of those things for her?  I may not have gone to medical school, but I know that unless she has her own practice and she’s not part of a “physican’s group” (which is virtually unheard of these days) all she has to do is show up on her days and answer her pager during her on call time which she rotates with the other doctors.  And her nurses and billing specialists take care of the prescription refills and insurance claims.

That takes me to the base salary of a primary care physician.  According to www.physiciansearch.com the average salary for a primary care physician is $147,516 – for those of you playing the at home version that’s $107,516 more than I make each year.  It’s about $100,000 more than a Teacher makes each year.  Boy she’d really hate that…… teachers actually have to work the entire 8 hours they are at school.  And they can’t just have an assistant answer all the calls they don’t want to take.  Hey better yet, she makes about $100,000 more than Dave as a Battalion Chief — and I’d be willing to  bet his pager and Nextel goes off more than hers does.

I’m still in a bit of shock and awe that this well educated lady would be stupid enough to write a piece of trash like this for all her patients to read.  If she was my doctor I’d call her up right now (since it’s 7pm on a Monday and she’s probably at her daughters dance recital) and have her send my records to a new doctor.  Of course this is coming from someone who has yet to find a new doctor after being diagnosed with Vertigo (and various other things) over the telephone.

Is everyone starting to see why Patty forbid me to read the paper now?  Because I could keep going……  Doctors are charging an average of $150.00 for an office visit.  The average office visit (i.e. the time you spend with the actual doctor) lasts about 10 min, if that.  Again for those of you playing the home version, that’s $15.00 a min.  I barely make $15.00 an hour!  And I can tell Ms. Doctor-pants she has no idea what being frustrated with the public is until she has spent five minutes trying to talk some guy out of bludgeoning his neighbor over kids using sidewalk chalk in front of his house.  Oh but I forgot she’s only getting paid 30-40 cents on the dollar……lets see that would be $60.  So that does take it down considerably – $6 a minute.

OK I’ll stop now…… I’m sure I’m not the only one who found this editorial (which from now on I shall call “IDIOTORIALS”) outrageous.  And I’m sure that in a couple of days someone will come up with a suitable rebutal and I will feel better.  And I also think I’m going to stick to Patty’s old rule and not read the Editorial page again, no matter how enticing a headline might be.

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