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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Moshe Shternbuch: How Much Can A Doctor Charge A Patient?

The Shulchan Aruch says (YD 336:2) that it is forbidden for a doctor to charge for his knowledge or his "studying".  He may only charge for his trouble and time that is idle while serving you, Schar Tircha and Batala.

This would seem to indicate that a doctor may not charge too much money.  However Rav Shternbuch (1:897) says that money for studying mean studying the patient himself.  Charging to recoup the years he spent in school and the expenses, is permissible and is considered Schar Batala.  Moreover it is incumbent on a person to pay the doctor, as the gemara says (Bava Kama 85a) "Asya D'Magem B'Magen Magen Shavya", a doctor that charges nothing is worth nothing.  A fair price insures the doctor's best efforts in treatment.

He adds that a doctor that over charges is losing out on the mitzva of giving life to a Jewish soul.  He praises doctors that work in hospitals part of the day for very low wages and have a private practice on the side in order to properly support themselves.  He also speaks of the importance of a doctor treating a patient that cannot afford him, and giving him the highest quality treatment and care, provided that the patient would not otherwise go to an expensive non-Jewish doctor and is only coming to him because of his low fees.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One must read the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions. 

 This article has not been reviewed by the posek of the AskRevach section, Rav Peretz Moncharsh. Any questions regarding this topic and Halacha L’Maaseh may be asked to him at www.revach.net/ask