Doctors were once among the most dependable workers in America. However, they have been leaving their jobs in sharply rising numbers to collect disability benefits. In some instances, they are earning more on disability than in working, according to insurance executives. Insurance analysts believe that declining morale is a key factor in the growth of disability claims.
Surgeons have been encouraged to continue practicing despite arthritis and other ailments. They formerly ranked with lawyers, accountants, and architects in occupations most favored for disability coverage. Now they rank toward the bottom of the professional hierarchy, below shipping clerks, steel mill superintendents and traveling salesmen.
For years, physicians have vented anger and frustration about the changing rules of their profession. Many complain they are working harder for less money, are under increased stress and are having their medical judgment questioned by HMOs. Adding to their indignity, many critics dismiss their complaints as the whining of a spoiled elite.
Disability carriers are experiencing a drain on their earnings as doctors are incurring disability claims at about twice the number expected from all occupations. They are no longer clamoring for doctor business.
But the real question remains. Why are we allowing others to destroy our profession? To what organization are we paying our dues to be our watchdog? Maybe we need a different watchdog.