Are academic physicians the next target on the inflated executive salary hit list?

First, Wall Street executives are vilified. Are academic physician-administrators next?

The WSJ Health Blog didn’t do the profession any favors by highlighting the fact that 3 of the top 4 highest paid college employees were physicians at academic medical centers, pulling in $3 million to $4 million per year.

Needless to say, that statistic comes out at an inopportune time, only reinforcing the false public notion that every doctor is so handsomely paid.

The ACP’s Bob Doherty asks whether it’s anyone’s business knowing the salaries of physician executives, but whatever you think, there is no question that “academic medicine will have to address a public perception that taxpayers can’t afford to subsidize high physician executive salaries, when millions of Americans have no health insurance coverage, when medical students graduate with an average of $140,000 in debt, and when primary care physicians in patient care earn 5% of the amount paid to the lowest of the top four physician-executives employed by medical colleges.”

If I were an academic physician, who in most cases, struggle to balance research, teaching rounds, and other clinical responsibilities, I would be pissed that the academic executives up top are making out like bandits.

The public and political scrutiny of these inflated salaries of our university physician leaders will be unforgiving in the current economic climate, and it’s unfortunate that these medical executives give the false impression that all academic doctors are paid this way, when in fact, they are often paid far below market wages.

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