The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Is Your Doctor Being Driven Away?

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, September 09, 2019
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Thirty years! That’s how long I’ve been going to my OB-GYN. She’s been through much with me and my family. Last week, at my annual checkup, she announced she wouldn't do the regular blood draw for various tests.  I looked at her blankly. “Huh? You always draw blood.”I don’t have the capability now. I have something to tell you. I am closing my practice.”. While she stated it matter-of-factly, her eyes held a great sorrow.

The ensuing conversation that brought us both to tears, had everything to do with the untenable complexity and demands of everything from digital record keeping to insurance reimbursement, to huge levels of paperwork, to Medicare. One of the first physicians to create digital records, she had been just been informed that all nine of her Windows XP machines would not be supported.  Thousands and thousands of dollars would be required to bring the computers up to speed plus more thousands to hire ongoing support.  Doctor burnout is a critical issue one that is costing the US roughly $4.6 billion dollars a year.

“I have tried to sell the practice but no young doctor wants to buy into a private practice. They are too afraid of the uncertain future.” “I can perform two hours worth of surgery and the insurance company will pay $100.  Now, every procedure requires more and more forms to be filled out.”

In short, as we hugged each other and cried again, the business of just staying afloat in medicine had become exhausting and financially draining. No—she’s not retiring. She has phenomenal surgery skills that she will apply in countries like Africa, Central America and India. “Volunteering my services to help women in need can be done immediately. I will not be hamstrung to be the kind of physician I have always tried to be.”

How’s this for a final insult? She can only give away her office equipment (like the $2000 exam tables) if she can find a way to transport it to a free clinic within the county. Even closing down her office is complex. From a selfish standpoint, I am dismayed at the thought of finding a doctor with whom I can relate. But even more, I am angry that the greed and convoluted practices of so much related to medical care is driving a great doctor to work offshore. I do not believe it has to be this way. But we must all speak up. In the meantime, I am going to see how to find a truck to take my doctor’s donated equipment to the clinic. What if your doctor was driven away?

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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