My take on the business of medicine

The complex business of medicine
Patterned after the US health care system, professional practice here in the Philippines is sadly, market driven. The government, who couldn’t care less, only responded with its meager health care budget and vague health priorities for its citizens. And though some key players essentially affect the doctor-patient interactions and the resulting service rendered, both the contracting parties suffer from this continuing negligence. Either that the patient receives no (or inadequate) health care at all, or the physician stops rendering service because they couldn’t even make a living out of their practice. Either way, the physician ( being the presumed “more knowledgeable” of this truth) is left to survive on his own and at the same time render top notch health care service. And we all know where this “parasitic” type of interaction is going to.

Are physicians really rich?
I bet your first reaction to the title of this blog is this…

  1. Aren’t physicians earning beyond what they really need? Why blog about earning a living when professional fees come in easily for doctors?
  2. Physicians aren’t suppose to earn money out of their patients’ miseries. Is this scheme ethical?

It is always assumed that physicians earn much. In the recent Philippines I knew, they do not. Or at least to us beginners. A large portion of these MDs entered medical school with just enough money to support their costly education. Worst, quite a number of them come out of medical school, broke and in huge debts. Like any working human being, physicians cannot function on an empty stomach or a financially burdened mind. Imagine yourself undergoing a surgery or a procedure from a surgeon who have been starving for days! I’m pretty sure no patient will come under my knife if they knew I am being sued by BIR for tax problems!

Despite being alluded to the most noble of professions, only a handful of physicians become filthy rich. Take a look at the richest people in Forbes magazine if you’re in doubt.

I’ve been a complete financial dork before, but not again!

The financial side of the Hippocratic practice was never taught in med school or tackled in specialty training. This is partly because of the perception that “earning a living” out of rendering health service (the business of any service provider) is in all, unethical or worst not noble. New physicians are left to themselves discovering financial anatomy and physiology in their professional practice. Most of us plunge into this complex and often confusing “medical business” and learn our way through the maze. This “see one, do one” attitude often drifts into “financial diseases” that are too “septic” to control. Financial planning is as strange as alchemy in medicine.

Financial planning is even more necessary for physicians who remained in the country to be of service to their countrymen. These physicians usually belong to the working middle class who struggle to have a stable, sustainable earnings just to render service to indigents Filipinos. If most of these middle class physicians only get gastronomic amounts of lip service for professional fees, then the diaspora of Filipino MD‘s will always be a continuing phenomenon.

Personally, I am blogging about my journey towards financial freedom because now is the best time to learn financial planning , even for us physicians. Yes, it is when you’re starting up, or better, when you have not been weathered by financial crisis.

Welcome and keep reading my posts! We will altogether discover financial freedom, serve our fellowmen and free ourselves from our woes and support our frugal living!

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