Well, I took the plunge. Today is October 13th, 2014. I graduated medical school in 1994. It took me 20 years to be the doctor I always wanted to be. On this day I opened Forest Direct Primary Care. I can’t even explain the feeling. My only boss is the patient. How weird is that? No more administrators telling me about quality metrics, benchmarks, devaluing me, scolding me, judging me and treating me as a piece of meat.
Honestly, I never thought I was would be employed. This concept of direct primary care is a movement and nothing is proprietary about it. It is a concept and not franchise and I love that about it. Funny thing, I had the idea while in residency. I told my peers that why don’t we just be our own mini-HMO for the patients? They thought I was nuts. I would write up business plans, collect ideas on “self-pay” models, and visualize my future and I was happy….but somehow along the way I got lost. I had two kids already, owed school loans and was lured in by the succubus (hospital employment). I NEVER enjoyed it. Sure, I liked my medical partners and patients. I enjoyed being a doctor, finally, after years of training. Soon, however, the games started. Total RVUs were being massaged by the administration and our pay was cut. These soon became work RVUs and we were cut again. Our staff was rotating in and out like a carousel. Our building was old and we were promised a new one, even to the point of grand architectural plans being drawn up. It took a year to get it right only to have it squashed because a new cath lab was needed to be build (it closed a year later).
I almost jumped about ten years in as the games continued but got sucked in again by another hospital who promised to treat us like gold. They did…for six months. Then the administrators needed to prove their worth and started to kill us with a thousand cuts. I left Maine and came to Virginia. I had to work for an urgent care for a year and it almost killed me but I still had my dream. The problem was that I was still chicken. I created my own locum company to rent myself out to a local and large family practice organization. They treated me well but I knew joining them would put me back into the world of industrialized medicine. I yearned for something else. I yearned for authentic medicine and my clinic of dreams. I have built it. Now the patients just have to come. Please say a prayer for me. 🙂