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.