Dr. Levin would not reveal his income. In 2009, the median compensation for psychiatrists was about $191,000, according to surveys by a medical trade group. To maintain their incomes, physicians often respond to fees cut by increasing the volume of services they provide, but psychiatrists rarely earn enough to compensate for their additional training. Most would have been better off financially choosing other medical specialties.
Dr. Levin’s initial efforts to get insurers to reimburse him and persuade his clients to make their co-payments were less than successful. His office assistants were so sympathetic to his tearful patients that they often failed to collect. So in 2004, he begged his wife, Laura Levin — a licensed talk therapist herself, as a social worker — to take over the business end of the practice.
She said she likes Dr. Levin and feels that he listens to her.
“The sad thing is that I’m very important to them, but I barely know them,” he said. “I feel shame about that, but that’s probably because I was trained in a different era.”