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Income: May 2017

My Physician Income For May 2017

I haven’t made much of an effort to earn an income – despite what the numbers show – I am trying out different projects to see what interests me, more like experimenting. In this process I am making a whole bunch of new friends, learning a ton of new things and earning a decent income.

I earned a total of $7,352, most of which is after-tax income. The only money which is paid to me pre-tax is my income from the Medical Marijuana Clinic, American Well, and Just Answer; I’ll discuss below in detail.

Well, marijuana is federally illegal so I don’t have to pay tax on it right?? Yea, right!

American Well – $0

I really wish I was doing more work for these guys. I earned $0 for the month of May. I really enjoy their virtual platform and they are among the most ethical clinical group I know (right up there with KP).

They pay their docs well, $50/visit, and they are really well-organized. I know last month I said that I would try to work more with them but it’s a process, no need to rush it.

HealthTap took a lot of my attention away and it was eye-opening to realize that just because a company has all the flash, lots of colors, and features, it doesn’t mean there is anything going on behind the scenes.

Kaiser Permanente – $2,089 – $160/hr

I like KP because they are loyal to their employees and put their patient’s health ahead of money. They push prevention really hard and don’t spend on things that merely creates the illusion of being an effective healthcare organization.

They have their problems, too. The SCPMG group was everything that I wouldn’t want a medical group to be. Their leadership was all about climbing the ranks and not about making meaningful changes.

Kaiser has given me the unique opportunity to do telemedicine and department admin work even as a per diem. I am humbled by this because I have a lot of love for the Urgent Care department at Kaiser Northwest.

The reasons I still keep my foot in the door at KP is because it allows me to practice my skills which are extinguishing fast, now that I am working only a few hours a week. I also get to keep my professional network alive.

I earned a total of $2,089 with KP. That’s for 22 hours of paid work when in fact I only put in 13 hours. That comes out to an after-tax hourly income of $160/hour.

I discussed in previous posts how I pick my shifts strategically in order to maximize the pay and minimize the hours worked. It’s going to be different for every medical group. For mine, I get paid an extra hour to finish up at the end of the shift, though I am usually out way before. I also get paid for admin work which I power out in far less time than allotted.

Just Answer – $317 – $132/hour

For a while this was a thorn in my side. I am still trying to learn everything I can about this method of engaging physicians without really creating a patient-doctor relationship. Their legal team either has it figured out really well or something interesting will unfold.

I earned $317 for work I put in April. I need to do a better job of keeping track of the time I put in for this company – I figure it was less than 2 hours for the month. So my pre-tax income for JA was $176/hour gross, or $132/hour after tax.

Oh, one other thing with JA… I learn a TON when I answer questions on there. People from all over the world come to ask questions from all sorts of specialties. I love looking things up because I get exposed to certain styles which I normally never would.

Medical Marijuana Clinic – $1,500 – $102/hour

The only reason I am doing this clinic is because I really like how the owner runs his various businesses out of one location (3, to be exact). I am learning a lot every time him and I sit down to chat – that boy is a hustler.

I earned $1,500 before tax for 16 hours of work. However, I get paid per patient, not per hour. I saw all the patients I needed to see in about 10 hours. My income per hour at MMC was $136/hour before tax, $102/hour after tax.

I should mention that I am quite productive in my downtime at MMC. When there is a stretch of time with no patients, I get on JA to answer questions- productive downtime.

Remedy Medical – $3,446 – $689/hour

I mentioned in previous posts that this role is changing over time. For now, I am still consulting for them to help them get their platform mainstream. They are doing incredibly well and are getting into markets which I never would have anticipated – good job Remedy!

I earned $3,446 for the month of May which is after taxes. I worked less than 5 hours the entire month. That comes out to an hourly income of $689/hour.

Moving forward, I will need to decide if I want to commit more time to them as a traditional employee – I am still thinking this over. I suppose it all depends on what the final contract spells out. If there is potential for me to learn, increase my network and provide more access to low-income patients, then I’m in.


What I Did With My Income

I posted what my expenses were for the month of May, so the majority of this income went towards my spending. Whatever was left over went towards investments.

Moving forward, I will get back into my budgeting mode – which I weirdly miss – and start investing my money again. There is a lot more to learn when it comes to investing and I will look forward to learning more about it in the next few years and of course share it with you guys on here.


Overall Hourly Wage

My average hourly wage is somewhere in the $270/hour range after taxes. This is in line with my previous predictions of what I should be earning based on my productivity level.

Higher Pay For Higher Performance

It’s a shame that most medical groups, especially Kaiser Permanente, won’t pay their better performing doctors a higher wage. It’s not that I am better than other physicians, however I perform at higher levels on the metrics which are measured by most medical groups.

These metrics are published on their intranet, such as referral utilization, volume of patients seen, turnaround times, imaging utilization, number of patient complaints and poor outcomes. I know where I stand based on these metrics.

I appreciate the subtlety of being humble in the workplace in order to create camaraderie. However, I place little credence in being humble about my capabilities as it relates to my performance and my income. Sure, it can come across a bit bold but your leadership will soon recognize you for owning your strengths and hopefully knowing you for working on your weaknesses.

KP believes that all their physicians should be paid the same amount of money for sake of transparency and equality. Not only is this detrimental to their business model but it also will put them at a major disadvantage in the future – especially when looking at how healthcare delivery is mutating.

Over the next few years, the natural progression of a free market society such as ours, is that I will get paid an ever-increasing hourly wage for my services. All I would have to do is continue building a strong network of like-minded individuals, master my skills and focus on my niche.

Owning My Performance And Capabilities

Perhaps the most important advice I would have for other physicians who may one day follow a similar path, is that it’s important that you have a clear message. You don’t even have to know where you’re going, nor have an exact plan. But be consistent in your views and practice styles and put more effort in what you’re good at.

I have a couple of physician friends who don’t believe they should exploit their talents in order to demand a high income. I can respect that. Though it also appears to me that they are waiting for something to come along that will be a better fit for them.

With enough time passing, most of us will be presented better opportunities. However, that could be decades if left to transpire at its own natural pace. Instead, put yourself in the path of opportunity. In order to do so it’s good to be financially secure – having debt paid off, living on less than your colleagues and having flexibility.

Needing less income and having more time flexibility, have been the 2 most marketable and lucrative tools at my disposal. I have flaunted them and advertised them to any and all potential employers and colleagues – in the right way, of course, without being pompous. Not because I am trying to generate the most amount of money possible but because I want to have access to the best opportunities which match my personality and skills.

I want to remind my healthcare professional audience that if you are doing something you love in your licensed profession, then earning an income doing it is just a positive side product.

Knowing My Place Without Upsetting The Flow

I love talking to patients about lifestyle changes – I could do it for free and love it even more. If I got paid for it or paid obscenely high for it, then it would be the cherry on top of the cake.

However, the current medical systems which I am in, don’t allow much time for this nor place much emphasis on it. If I were to try to bulldoze through my job with the mentality that I will do it anyway then I’d simply be hardheaded and clash with the leadership – it’s futile. Instead, I find that performing in the higher percentiles at my job will give me enough positive marks that I can open new doors to give me the opportunity to do what I love.

3 replies on “Income: May 2017”

How were you able to do admin work as a per diem at Kaiser? This was the southern California kaiser?

hey Johnny,
This was at Northwest Permanente Kaiser. I started out as a full-time and had admin role which nobody wanted to do when I went per diem. So I kept doing the work until I could slowly give it up. The last part of the admin work I gave up just last month.
I know SCPMG has problems giving per diems admin. They rarely will give pre-partners admin roles when I was working there. It’s more common here at NWP to have per diems in admin roles if they are the right fit.

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