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Any opinions on Family Practice doctors?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by drmoon, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'm wondering if this specialty is considered the "lower rung" of medical specialties. Like, if you couldn't get any other residency you would end up getting this one.

    I keep hearing that it's more difficult to make ends meet as an FP. Does anyone know what kind of average salary an FP can expect after finishing a residency? Are there enough jobs? Do they need more money after residency to start up their own practice??

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  3. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Residencies aren't like med don't generally have to "settle" on a speciality. You may have to settle on a location, but assuming it's not among the freakishly competitive specialities like orthopedic surgery, you'll probably get into the type of residency program you want.
  4. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    I would hope that family pratice is not considered a "lower rung of medical specialties" since we all need them. There actually seems to be a shortage of primary care docs, and therefore the push to educate more of them. Of course, primary care physicians will never make as much money as the specialized docs though. FP's can make around $90-120K/year just out of residency (maybe a little more, depending on where you are at), which is probably enough to "make ends meet," but it won't turn out to be that much when 40% is taken in taxes... and if you go to an expensive private school, you could be paying $30,000 for 10 years on your loans, which can be a pretty big burden if you are only getting $60K after taxes.

    This is probably why FP is not as competitive to get into, but that doesn't mean that anybody gets stuck there. It seems more common that students look at their board scores and class stndings to figure out what type of residency they are competitive for. Most schools will sit down with you when it comes time and talk to you about what you want to do and what type of residency you are likely to get. If you don't do reasonably well on the USMLE, they aren't going to advise you to apply to derm residencies, but they probably aren't going to say "ok, you are obviously a ******, so you have to do FP."
  5. bee

    bee Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 19, 2001
    And there are some of us who want to go into Family Practice, not becuase of lack of ambition or that I don't think I could make it in another field, but because I like it. There are some of us who look forward to treating ear infections and doing well-baby check ups. I also like the idea of getting to see children and adults. I always thought that I wanted to go into peds, but for the past three years I have volunteered at a free clinic with a bunch of family docs. I found I like seeing adults too.
    And as a previous poster replied, there is a shortage in primary care. Not that I want to put the rest of you out of work (j/k) but keeping people healthy in the first place is soo important. I mean we all want to improve the quality of people's lives, and if we can keep them well to begin with, isn't that a cool thing?

    Just my thoughts!

  6. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Totally with you, Bee!

    I think that an FP is right for me, too. I'm just checking on any disadvantages there might be in this field. I don't care about money. In podiatry, all is not equal so that's what I'm used to.

    Thanks for the input!
  7. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending 10+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by drmoon:
    <strong>I don't care about money.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Notwithstanding the timely and appropriate advice of johnM and Bee, I think this statement might become your undoing if you continue to practice medicine with this philosophy.

    While it may be untrue of more rural practices, family practices are rapidly being bought up by major medical centers, or they are at least buying into major medical centers. This means that as a family practice physician, you'll be performing fewer and fewer billable procedures and suffer from capitation blues. The saddest example of this has been with an FP I rotated with last year. He performed everything from gram stains to sigmoidoscopies. He performed all his female patients' Pap smears; he did myringotomies; he saw all generations. Now, he refers patients to the hospital that bought his practice to get blood work; no one under 60 gets a Pap smear at his office; his basement is filled with equipment that he can no longer use. His staff is burdened with paperwork; he spends 10 minutes with a patient and then the next 15 minutes on the phone with insurance providers and other patients.

    "So what?" you say. "This is occurring everywhere in medicine." True, but when you go from making $250,000 a year to $200,000, you might be able to accept such changes that occur. But, when you go from $120,000 to $70,000, it's a different ball game.

    Yes, go into the field of medicine that you want. But, be honest with yourself. Many of us have &gt;$150,000 in medical school and college debt. Don't forget children. Don't forget the mortgage. Don't forget the car. Don't forget the diamond ring. Don't forget the wedding and honeymoon. Things are more likely to get worse than better in the next 10 years.

    ****'s expensive, man...Marry rich, as my mom says.

    You didn't go to medical school to work 80-100 hours per week, earn $80 Gs, and spend the rest of your time dictating and playing joust with insurance companies.
  8. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'm marrying a lawyer. Does that help?
  9. Freeeedom!

    Freeeedom! Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2001
    I am a ninja
    [email protected], I know lawyers that make less than 80k and work &gt;60hrs per week...I would choose medicine any day.
  10. drmoon

    drmoon Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    Los Angeles
    But she's a BEVERLY HILLS LAWYER and she makes a lot of money!
  11. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by drmoon:
    <strong>But she's a BEVERLY HILLS LAWYER and she makes a lot of money!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Lawyers can make a ton of money. All it takes is one malpractice victory, usually they get 30-60% of whatever settlement there is. With a lot of settlements being millions of dollars, all it takes is one case and they can be set for life. That's why you see them advertising on TV all the time, oftentimes advertising for rare diseases in specific populations. All it takes is one to make them a multi-millionaire.

    Regarding the original post though, I have heard negative things being said by different people about family practice doctors. The stereotype for them is that they are in the bottom of the class/ least competent physicians/ couldn't get other residencies/ non-academic, etc. But who cares what stereotypes of the physicians have of you, as long as you do what you enjoy, that's all that matters. You can look at the average salary thread to see what FP's make. You do need money to start up your own practice if you want to set up a new solo practice somewhere. I've seen advertisements of practices for sale, I think that they go in the 300,000 range or more. You can always just work for other people and avoid this whole start up cost though.
  12. vhl

    vhl Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2000
    I have a close friend who's a family med resident in the northeast, and she's found that around here family med docs and residents are not looked on as highly, since there are plenty of internists, pediatricians, and double certified docs (not to mention OB/Gyns) to fill the need. Residencies tend to have a mix of people who did great in med school, could have done any specialty, and feel very strongly about the family medicine philosophy, and people who had to scramble or weren't very competitive. She finds this extremely frustrating because other docs make assumptions about her skills. She interviewed out west also; there the story is much different (not sure about CA, though). Family practitioners are highly valued because they are needed so much, and residents are much more highly respected for their talent at treating a wide range of problems. If you're looking at family med residencies I'd look closely at how happy the residents are, and whether the residency had to scramble to fill slots. I'd also ask residents in other fields how the residents from that program are viewed.

    I think Family practitioners actually make more on average than pediatricians, and I've also seen ads offering ridiculous amounts of money for rural docs (not that you need it :) ).
  13. Richard

    Richard Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 1999
    Grain Valley, MO
    There is money that can be made in FP if you know what to look for. I'm fortunate that when I finish my residency in a few years that I will be walking into a great income for a family doc. My family has 4 large family practice clinics with urgent care until 9 and they want to start me off at 280K 1st year out of residency. Barring any unforseen changes in reimbursement of course. The four clinics last year saw almost 60K patients so they aren't hurting for volume and in fact, see more patients than the surrounding ER's. The average family doc in the clinic is averaging better than 250K. If anyone is finishing their residency soon and wants a great paying FP job in North Georgia just let me know. A couple of the docs are retiring and they need a few new docs to replace them. If you are doing your training in Atlanta and need a job moonlighting just let me know and i can contact my dad and uncle and they will set you up in the urgent care clinic. $1200 a day average for seeing easy bread and butter cases, including a wide variety of office procedures and lac repairs if your into that stuff.


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