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    Do we jump on the $70,000 salary bandwagon?


    Reading this story caused me to wonder how this scenario might play out in an ophthalmology practice. What if we all decided that every employee should be guaranteed a nice salary on the order of $70,000?

    Ophthalmology experiment

    Then I remembered I had heard about a similar experiment told to me by a friend who had worked in a hospital in another state. One day, a philanthropist decided to provide funding to ensure that every ophthalmologist in the department earned at least the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) median compensation.

    More from Dr. McDonnell

    What happened was:

    • The ophthalmologists who were not as productive as their colleagues were pleased to receive a raise and guaranteed floor to their compensation.
    • The ophthalmologists who were more productive and saw themselves as working harder than their less well-compensated colleagues were angry that they were now earning the same.  They started to reduce the numbers of patients they saw per day.
    • Some ophthalmologists who were very productive, and therefore earning above the median compensation, said they saw no reason to "kill themselves" for an incrementally greater compensation.  They also began to reduce their patient volumes, content to receive the guaranteed AAMC median.

    As with Price's company, one group of people was happy with the new compensation guarantee, whereas other groups were unhappy (for somewhat varying reasons).

    Did you know these 7 men were ophthalmologists?

    I look forward to seeing news reports over time on the subject of Price, Gravity Payments, and the $70,000 guaranteed pay scale.

    This topic of more evenly distributing wealth is nothing new. 

    Next: Concluding thoughts

    Peter McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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