From a Recently Retired Doctor

This was sent to me and the doctor allowed me to share it:

I recently retired after practicing in my current location for nearly 30 years. At the time, there were only 2 PMR doctors in the area and we provided care at several hospitals with inpatient and outpatient care. I started Medical School more than 50 years ago so my experience runs through the history of Medicare system and the changes in the delivery system. I kept a cell phone number for my office and closed the other numbers, or so I thought. I got a bill from ATT for services after the office closed. 

I received the expected calls from patients requesting their charts or asking me if I knew any DATA 2000 providers with open slot for buprenorphine.

I got several calls from 2 different insurance companies asking me to continue seeing patients. There is a local shortage of PMR doctors with offices in my part of Houston who do rehab and not pain management. There are doctors doing only pain and others doing only inpatient rehab. Both companies repeated called asking me why I closed. I explained after the cost of overhead, especially rent, staff, the EHR, the unreimbursed time and the drop of referrals because of preauthorization and the retirement of my referring physicians (the hospital system ACOs that did not invite me to join) I had not been able to pay myself for several months. Medicare and the insurance companies want electronic billing and EHR which is cost prohibitive if I see a handful of patients a month. I was told that I had an obligation to help both insurance companies locate doctors for their clients. The agents did not like my comments I had not seen these people and they were not my patients. My office has closed and I was not accepting referrals nor do I have the facilities to locate treating doctors for their clients. I had already done this for my patients. The barriers make it impossible to economically establish a practice. 

It’s time to WALK AWAY from the insurers.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]

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2 Responses

  1. Mamadoc says:

    What are they gonna do, fire you?

  2. Deborah Sutcliffe says:

    We physicians have been doormats for so long, in the name of helping patients,that it is inconceivable to many that we can say NO!

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