Editor’s Note

December 15, 2008

Pediatricians are among the lowest-paid of all the medical specialties - and yet they are also among the most dedicated and passionate. Read this month’s Your Best Practice for easy-to-implement tips on getting paid for filling out those endless forms and advice on billing strategies.


You became a pediatrician because you love medicine, and you love kids - not because you expected to get rich. And indeed, you are certainly not getting rich. Pediatricians are among the lowest-paid of all the medical specialties - and yet they are also among the most dedicated and passionate.

In November 2008, Physicians Practice, America’s Leading Practice Management Journal, (where I’m the executive editor), will publish results of our third annual physician income survey, which recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates conducts on our behalf. The findings on pediatricians are enlightening but not surprising: Almost one in four makes less than $100,000 annually; only 22 percent make more than $200,000. And 43 percent of our pediatrician respondents characterized their incomes as disappointing.

What’s my point? Simply this: If there are some of you still feeling guilty about the idea of charging parents reasonable fees for completing seemingly endless paperwork, it’s time to get over it. As author Robert Anthony points out in “Get Paid for What You Do,” so many practices around the country have implemented fees for noncovered services that it’s becoming the standard. Besides, the point of the policies is not to generate substantial new income; it’s to compensate you for the extra time you spend on paperwork, while encouraging parents to plan on bringing as many forms as possible at the time of their child’s regular checkup. Some practices will fill these out for free, in fact, charging only for those forms submitted between regular appointments.

That leaves you freer to spend time on patient care.

And speaking of time, how much is your practice wasting dealing with payers? Have you considered outsourcing billing to a revenue cycle management company? Such companies promise to automate your billing, getting you more of your money faster while reducing the headaches. But how well do they perform? We examine the topic in “Hand Off Billing Nightmares.”

Welcome to the fall edition of Your Best Practice: A Practice Management Supplement for Pediatricians. As always, our goal is to offer you the practice management advice that just isn’t available for your specialty anywhere else.

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Your Best Practice.