Another One Bites the Dust

One of the great family practice doctors of our time will be closing her doors this month (June 2019).  When she sent out this letter letting her patients know; people cried.

Dear Patient,

I am saddened to inform you that I will be closing my medical practice on June 14, 2019. When I began my medical career, I envisioned working until they literally carried me out on a stretcher. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you over the years. Due to recent events and steadily decreasing reimbursement for my services, it is not feasible to maintain my office practice.

You may pick up your medical records from the office with advance notice. If you prefer, we can send records to your new doctor with your written consent.

Thank you for the privilege of being your doctor and health care partner.

 Wishing all good things for you,

Ruby C. Simpkins, M.D.

The response was astonishing and surprising.  People called her office begging her to stay.   There were letters of protest sent.  But, in the end, the doors closed. Dr. Ruby Simpkins could no longer pay to play.  Dr. Simpkins is an amazing woman. She was one of the first African American women to graduate from Boston University School of Medicine.   Before leaving the east, she was a professor of medicine.  When Ruby decided to move, she established her practice in Agoura, then a small town in California.   

Ruby loved everything about the “practice of medicine.”  She took the time to get to know her patients.  She read journals in her free time to learn about the newest inventions, the latest research findings, and best practices in her field.

She could tell if something wasn’t right with you; and work with your specialists, unpaid, to make sure that you got the treatment you needed.  Because of her commitment to quality medicine, she won’t be able to work as an employed physician in a hospital system.

Those people must see between 4 to 8 patients, minimum, in an hour.  This would not allow her to spend the time she likes getting to know someone to enable her to properly diagnose them.

It seems unfathomable to me that those who set the rates for reimbursement set them below her cost, knowing she can’t pay her bills at that level; AND those same people pay themselves millions of dollars a year in salary and bonus.

Maybe its time to rethink this.

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