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July 19, 1995

Compensating Physicians for Telephone Calls

Author Affiliations

University of Utah School of Medicine Salt Lake City

JAMA. 1995;274(3):216. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530030036023

To the Editor.  —Dr Sorum's1 Commentary is spot on. When I call my attorney, I can hear the meter clicking in the background, and the bill arrives within days after the telephone call. The time is overdue for physicians to receive compensation for the extraordinary amount of "free services" that we render over the wire. The time consumed is real time, the judgments require expertise, the advice given has consequences, and the courts have established our liability for the consequences of those calls. Even as an academic physician with a limited practice, I find myself spending an extraordinary amount of time in the evening and on weekends making telephone calls to patients, either because the patients are unreachable during the workday or because I simply have no other time to make the calls. The burden certainly would be lighter were I to receive modest compensation. I hope Sorum's proposal

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