Letters to the Editor

Private doctors make much less than best-paying jobs list suggests

I read that the the top paying job in San Luis Obispo County is a general internist at $258,370 a year (“The 15 best-paying jobs in SLO County,” May 10).

Two words: “I wish.”

Having been a general internist on the Central Coast for 28 years, I feel qualified to comment. I worked 15 years at the San Luis Medical Clinic and never made more than $80,000 a year despite seeing 25 patients a day and being on call every fourth night admitting all patients from the ER who needed admittance to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital. I could have made more at a Kaiser or in a big-city hospital but stayed because I love the Central Coast.

In 2002, I went in to private practice and for most of that time made about the same as a high school teacher and often less than an employed pharmacist. There is a critical shortage of primary doctors here because they simply cannot make a living.

The salaries you show must reflect doctors who have been lured into employment by a hospital, often being offered a huge salary to get them to sign on the dotted line or the prison/state hospital. Doctors with their own practice who take Medicare assignment, Covered California and HMO patients make markedly less.

Jana Hanson, San Luis Obispo