“How Do We Save Money? I Know. Let’s Not Pay the Doctors!”

The above quote was made up. Or was it? I have heard stories, through my connections, for weeks now that doctors were being furloughed or even fired. This Boston Globe article just sealed the deal:

Emergency room doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have been told some of their accrued pay is being held back. More than 1,100 Atrius Health physicians and staffers are facing reduced paychecks or unpaid furloughs, while pay raises for medical staff at South Shore Health, set for April, are being delayed.

Yes, you read that right. Those on the front lines are being docked.

“This is at a time when many of us have moved out to live like lepers separate from family to prevent spreading infection, and have already been working huge extra hours trying to scrape together [personal protective equipment] and otherwise brace for COVID-19,” said Dr. Matt Bivens, an ER doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.

Feel free to read the rest of the article. Don’t be fooled by “administralian speak” where they try to control the narrative. They will say things like “these are just bonuses” when in reality doctors work on a productivity commission when they are employed. This is their money.

Let’s just see if these hospitals get a bailout? And if they do will they pay these doctors back? They shouldn’t hold their breath.

You know, there was a time when doctors didn’t work for hospitals. It’s true. Just go back 30-40 years ago. DPC docs are jumped. EVERY OTHER doctor could jump. Now. That does not mean to abandon patients or our oath but this bullshit that the hospital administrators are playing is too much.

Where is their cut in pay?


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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for ““How Do We Save Money? I Know. Let’s Not Pay the Doctors!”

  1. ARF
    April 2, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Don’t the politicians compare this pandemic to a war?

    Doesn’t that make doctors soldiers?

    And the nurses, techs, etc., of course.

    Anyway, don’t soldiers at the front line get combat pay?

  2. Mamadoc
    April 1, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Hope when this is over doctors will take back the power. Remember what Roy Basch says in Man’s Forth Best Hospital? “We do the work.”

  3. arf
    March 31, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Actually I can’t believe there ane any doctors working at PeaceHealth Bellingham right now, after what they did to their emergency doc Ming Lin.

  4. ARF
    March 29, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    If a doctor walks away, I do not see that as abandoning any oath.

    “Whatever house I may enter”, the doctor shall act in the best interest of the patient, do not divulge secrets, no hanky-panky with anyone, male or female, free or slave. A randy bunch those ancient Greeks.

    Also, no euthanasia, no abortion, by the original Hippocratic Oath.

    But I see nothing in the Oath that obligates you to enter the “house” in the first place.

    • Pat
      March 30, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Amen. I’ve been writing that and screaming it for years. The first to whine about “The Oath” are those who never took it and don’t know what it says.

  5. arthur gindin
    March 29, 2020 at 4:04 pm


  6. LJSlossMD
    March 29, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    I am a retired cardiologist living in the Boston area and formerly on staff and/or admitting my Private patients to Partners-affiliated hospitals or to BIDMC. My relations with these institutions terminated purportedly because I was “disruptive,” a farcical cover story for their policy and plan to eliminate the independent physicians either by banishment or by inclusion amongst their hirelings. The goal was not the improvement of delivery of healthcare services to their community but the capture of service-generated revenue entirely within the system. In this process, the in-house physicians experienced progressive encroachment on their professionalism as they were increasingly rewarded solely based upon the revenue they generated; the effect on morale was precisely what one would anticipate. At the same time, the practice of medicine itself was increasingly driven by the interests of the managerial hierarchy.

    I was not the least bit surprised that the pandemic-driven additional burden of responsibility and effort fell upon the medical professionals at every level, though I was caught unaware by the coincident shrinkage of financial support. My first thought on reading the article in the Boston Globe was to wonder how heavily this burden had fallen upon senior management, especially in the context of their bloated numbers and grotesquely excessive remuneration; my next thought was that the sacrifice would be borne entirely by the clinical staff. I try not to think that management will award themselves bonuses.

  7. Pat
    March 29, 2020 at 10:00 am

    This can’t be a surprise to anyone. As in personal relationships, a crisis accentuates what corporate entities truly think about those they employ.

    I’m nauseated by one cable talking head after another blathering about “our heroic doctors.” Let this all pass, and society via its third-party payers will go right back to treating doctors as the problem.

    In the interim, I know the online NP’s and Doctors of Nursing could fill the void, and they wouldn’t care about the money.

    • ARF
      March 29, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      Read about Ming Lin fired at PeaceHealth Bellingham.

      Emergency doc, complained about conditions.

      Listen to the corporate speak about how he was’t fired, just taken off the schedule.

      Almost certainly with a noncompete that excludes him from the Bellingham area.

      No illusions. The people praising the heroic doctors, will throw you away like trash when this is all over. Replaced with nurse practitioners, billing the same, and enriching administrators.

  8. Steve O'
    March 29, 2020 at 9:16 am

    There are miracle machines that convert water into gasoline. They are thrilling, but do not work. Those Ivy Towers such as the Deke are making amazing water-to-gas machines, for which they receive grants, but sadly, more work is needed.
    I don’t care for Elton John’s music. He is a very good piano player. If you ask me, I don’t pay him for his work. I have none of his music. But many many other people saw the need for his music, and they bought his records and went to his concerts, and he made a lot of money. The measure of how much someone wants something is in direct proportion with the amount of money they want to pay for it. There is no other message. I really want a Mercedes S-series. Really do. Their MSRP price is $151,600 I have not bought one. Ergo, I don’t really want it THAT much.

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