Doctors target laser procedures as new revenue source

Doctors target laser procedures as new revenue source
By Christopher Rowland, Boston Globe Staff | September 30, 2005…revenue_source/

Nationally, specialists in cardiac care and radiology make an average of more than $400,000 a year, but primary care doctors earn $141,000 to $160,000 after practice expenses – about $45 per patient visit, according to survey data compiled by physicians’ organizations and a trade magazine, Physicians Practice. Family doctors in New England fare worse than the rest of the country, with an average individual income of $120,000.
The lower pay makes them ripe for sales pitches from laser device manufacturers. Because cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance, doctors can set whatever fees they like.

Probably a lot of electrologists fall into this lucrative salary supplementation party, too. I’ve had a few calls from local physicians asking if I would like to work in their office doing both electrolysis and laser. In the state of Ohio, with extra training, a registered nurse, electrologist, physician’s assistant may wield a laser. Since I hold two license’s, registered nurse and electrologist C.T.) I guess these guys find that pretty convenient. I always decline for my own reasons.

In regard to the above article, family practitioner’s and pediatrician’s are the low guy’s on the salary totem pole, as far as hours worked compared to salaries received. It is quite a struggle to run an office and pay for several employee’s health insurance, as well as their family members health insurance, in addition to paying for malpractice insurance, office supplies and equipment, rent, utilities, etc. Many work 60-80 hours per week just keep the whole thing going. I know of a family doctor who made a grand total of $30,000 in one year after expenses were paid. He was pushing close to 60 years old and just couldn’t keep the pace of 60-80 hours per week. He closed shop and it was too bad because he served many people in a rural community that badly needed that family doctor.

I work in an office with family doctor’s and they get their fair share of brochures trying to entice them to buy a laser for the office. They really show no interest. I think they are busy enough and they probably don’t want the extra liabilty and expense that comes with owning or leasing a laser???

I live with a family physician, so I see all his mail. My husband gets bombarded by the laser reps sending him information about their upcoming workshops. The last thing on his mind is hair removal. Even if he would see it as a chance to boost his income, he has very little time to learn and be accountable for something else in his day, being that he works 60-80 hours per week already. He’s like most physician’s, he really doesn’t care about the impact of having unwanted hair. I’m educating him slowly. Heck, he’s still telling people that I’m an electroLOGER and they think he said astrologer. Most doctors don’t take hair removal seriously,but the ones that do probably have a laser. The money flowing in certainly gets and keeps their interest.

You are correct. Most doctors don’t take it serioulsy. If they do have it in their office, it is just seen as a money maker. They pay someone else to operate the thing, often trying to get someone who already is, or is close to being trained in it to come to their practice, or finding someone off the street to send to trainings, and pay them a little more than minimum wage to both learn, and operate this cash genorator.

Of course, most abandon it after a while, either because they don’t like the complaints, or they can’t keep their operators to stay working with them, when they find out they can possibly make more working for themselves.

I knew a dermatologist who went through every hair removal thing there was trying to find something that would make money, but keep the operator in his office. He finally just gave up and took to renting a portion of his office to an electrologist, because by then he said he had learned the hard way that “Only electrolysis works for permanent hair removal, and any electrologist could make more than I want to pay her working out of her bedroom if she established a large enough client list. Working for me for just a small time establishes enough clients to take home, so I had best be happy with the money I make from sharing her income via rent, and insurance processing.”

He has since retired, and about 1/3 of the electrologists in my area were affiliated with him at one point in their carreers.