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I feel compelled to write this diary right now due to some misinformation out there in a diary. Let me be clear about something:

PHYSICIANS DO NOT GET PAID FOR WRITING PRESCRIPTIONS! It is ILLEGAL for a Physician to be paid kickbacks for writing prescriptions!

My wife is a highly trained specialist with an MD and more board certifications that I care to think of…  I have helped start and ran a medical practice.  There seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around all/the majority of Physicians are bilking the system by writing unnecessary prescriptions because they are paid to write a prescription or receive kickbacks.  

See below for more details.

The assentation that a Physician is paid for writing prescriptions, or normally receives kickbacks, is flat out wrong.  In fact it is illegal.  Yes, there are/have been a few bad apples who have pocketed kickbacks but I know from personal experience Physicians aren’t paid that way.  

What a Physician is paid for

1. Examinations: you see a Physician in the exam room; they are paid for that, etc…

2.Consults: a Physician consults a specialist about a patient.  They are paid for that.  For example, you are in a hospital room.  The ER Doc brings in a Cardiologist to check on your heart, the Cardiologist is paid for that.

3.Interpreting tests: a Physician thinks something might be wrong with your heart and they order a test.  When the Physician interprets the test, they are paid for that.  For example, a Physician orders a sleep study.  They then interpret the results and write up the procedures.   They are paid for that.

4.Procedures, surgeries, etc…: a Physician is paid when he/she replaces your knees, administers aesthesia, assists in the surgery, etc…
What do these all have in common?  They require the Physician to spend time with or for the patient.  Shouldn’t a Physician be paid for spending time with you?  

What a Physician is NOT paid for

1.Writing a prescription: a physician is NOT paid for writing a prescription and it is illegal for them to accept kickbacks.

2.Calling to back when you have a question:  I can’t count how many times my wife has had to spend a chunk of each day calling patients back because they have questions.  She isn’t paid for her time.  Everyone knows that their lawyer will charge them for the 15 minutes they spend with you on the phone but a Physician can’t charge for that same 15 minutes.

3.Writing notes about consult: she might see you have 15 minutes but it might take her another 5, 10, 15 minutes to write notes: she has to ensure the notes are accurate and complete.

4.Missed appointments:  you blow off an appointment that she has held for you and she doesn't get paid for that time.  If you miss an hour of work, your employer doesn't have to pay you for that time.  In this situation you are the employer and the Physician is the employee.  By not showing up, you have decided your employee isn't going to get paid, even with them being there and ready to go.

5. Repeating everything to your Mother’s best friend’s son-in-law’s friend of a friend:  a Physician just told you X and you now want them to repeat everything to a friend, family member, etc… that wasn't there.  The Physician isn’t paid for that extra time.

6. Calling your insurance company: there are soooo many times when a patient needs a Physician to call the insurance company to contest their denial of X procedure, medication, etc… the Physician is acting as your advocate but they aren’t paid for this time.

7. Parking your car, etc… yea, ok, that is sarcastic but it is to illustrate there are a TON of things a Physician does every day and they aren’t paid for it.

Why did my Physician order X,Y and Z?????

Physicians might order X test or Y medications for a few reasons, including, but not limited to:

Medications: there are times when a physician will prescribe a medication that could have a beneficial effect for a patient but it is not 100% certain it will help.    Have you ever taken a drug that didn’t seem to help you?  How would you feel if you don’t get better and find out there was a drug that might have helped but you weren’t given a prescription for it?

Medical tests: a test you think is unneeded could, in fact, be a preventative or double check to make certain the Physician hasn't missed anything.  Have you thought you found a solution to a problem, then looked at it from a different way and found the real problem?  I know I have.  That is what a Physician is doing.

To sum up, Physicians are human.  They have to double check themselves and try to look at every angle.  Because the United States is so litigious, if they didn’t do that, you can bet they would get sued.
Ask questions below.  I’ll try and help explain more.  

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Do Physicians get paid to write prescriptions?

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