A prescription for disaster

I know I’ve groused occasionally about my personal finances, but this morning I noticed a story in the Boston Herald that gave me hope.

Dr. Henry Childs was a private-practice doctor in Massachusetts, and by all reports a good one. He recently retired after 30 years of private practice, and moved to Florida. And in his last year, he made about $50,000.

That’s a smidgen more than double my gross pay for the same year. I’m making half of what a doctor in his 60’s makes! I’m practically rich!

Seriously, the story just goes to show what Massachusetts is doing to itself. Dr. Childs doesn’t give specific numbers, but cites property taxes, malpractice insurance, cuts in insurance payments, and rising home prices as factors. I’ve seen other accounts from other doctors who pay over a quarter of a million dollars a year simply to keep their office open, and end up taking home $50-60,000 per year.

These are DOCTORS, people. These are people who spent about a decade in training and education, racking up six figures of debts, and then spend decades building up their business, and end up making about as much as a retail store manager.

There’s an old legend that when you see the rats leaving a ship, it’s doomed. Not to cast any aspersions on the medical profession, but the same thing seems, to me, to hold for doctors and regions. Doctors should be among the last to leave an area — they have a huge investment in staying where they are, through patients, peer relationships, hospitals, and other medical support mechanisms. And that’s not even beginning to mention homes, country clubs, and the like.

When the doctors start fleeing your state, you KNOW you’re in real trouble. But will Massachusetts see this, and realize just how bad a plight they’re in?

I hope so, but I think not.

And more’s the pity.


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