Response to doctors’ salaries at Inter Island Medical Center

Just to correct the record.

In 2007, family physicians earned about an average in the $160,000s, which is the sum of salary, bonuses, retirement.

I stated that the physicians at Inter Island Medical Center should earn more than the average salary given the burden of call and the ER responsibilities, but made no comment as to how much of a premium is reasonable and certainly did not say that current salaries were appropriate (“Rising cost of 24/7 care,” page 1A, Sept. 3 Journal).

When I left IIMC, the physicians were earning in the $150,000s per year, which included call, rotating medical director for IIMC, any special meetings, being medical director for the San Juan Island aid unit, and medical director for San Juan County EMS. The IIMC board felt that this was an excessive salary and hence the leaving of Dr. Heiderscheit, Dr. Pauly and myself.

If the current physicians are earning $196,000 base salary plus minimum of $72,000 for taking one day of call in five, plus benefits, plus extra for being medical director and aid unit coverage, etc., this works out to be about $300,000 per year putting their earning in the top 4 percent of all family physicians.

I will leave it up to the public and the IIMC board to decide whether this is a reasonable premium for a tax-supported organization.
Burk Gossom, MD
San Juan Island