I asked a group of docs I’m coaching how much they’re worth per hour. Interesting question given docs have 11+ years of specialized training beyond high school. Surgeons spend most of their 20s and 30s in school. By the time these folks graduate, they’ve got 200K+ med school debt—before kids, spouse or house. Many docs just don’t have time to develop a social life, fall in love, have children—until their 30s or later!
What’s it worth to have all that training? Where does all that delayed gratification and self-sacrifice lead? Some urgent care jobs pay docs $75/hour. Of course, patients want to see doctors for a $20 copay. Is that all we’re worth?
When I asked docs to tell me what they’re worth, many refused to respond. Why? Confusion, overwhelm, low self-worth? Maybe most doctors have been devalued for so long, they just have no idea what they’re worth.
Those who responded were all over the map. DC Psychiatrists charge $600 per hour. A Colorado family doc is $200/hr. One in Louisiana charges $100. As a reference, a family nurse practitioner in Alaska bills at $466/hr and a med student in California claims he’s worth $600. So what’s the truth? How much are you worth per hour? (This is not an optional question. You really do need to know.)
Reality check: let’s compare doctors to plumbers. Much shorter training and tuition costs. Just a year at a community college post GED/high school. Then (depending on location) 2-5 years of paid apprenticeship before getting licensed. And what do plumbers charge? I just had a guy fix my toilet tank. Took 15 minutes. I paid $125. A gynecologist in Washington state pays her 26 year-old plumber $350/hr for emergencies.
Plumber liability insurance is usually less than $1K annually. Compare that to a family doctor at 10K+ or neurosurgeon 100-200K+ yearly. Just for professional liability insurance. Before a patient even walks in the door.
So is plumber in Washington worth 3.5 times as much as a family doc in Louisiana?
What do you think?
What would you pay for an hour with a doctor?
Addendum: As I’m publishing this (no joke), my landlord calls to tell me my office bathroom is flooding. I rush down to assess the damage. Not bad. Maybe all pricing is relative to need and urgency.
Pamela Wible, M.D., is a practicing family doc in Oregon. She pioneered the first ideal clinic designed by patients. Now she helps others open ideal clinics too. Join our upcoming retreat and learn how.