To the editor:
I recently received a letter from my physician of more than 50 years that he will be retiring April 1 due to the rules and regulations that the current administration’s “Obamacare” is imposing upon doctors.
With his permission, I will quote a portion of his letter explaining this action:
“I would like to write each and every one of you individually to thank you for being a patient — but time doesn’t permit. I feel that I owe you an explanation of my retirement at this particular time — Obamacare and his 10,000 pages of new rules and regulations aimed at the medical field, doctors in particular.
“Prices continue to rise and insurance reimbursements continue to fall. Regulations prohibit me from doing X-rays since I am not board-certified in radiology. I am prohibited from drawing blood samples to send to the laboratory.
“I can’t give ‘shots’ and immunizations such as tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, shingles, pneumonia, etc. These are now given by the pharmacist or nurse at CVS or Walgreens.
“These large corporations have the money to buy in large quantities at deep discounted prices — freezing out the doctors who are supposed to do this. Clinics are or will be springing up at all the drugstores — seen by nurse practitioners. You don’t have to be a doctor anymore. Doctors can’t treat their own patients in the hospitals. They are seen by one of the ‘hospitalists.’ Medicare feels if you’re sick enough to be in the hospital, you need a hospitalist (specialist), and they will only pay for one doctor, the specialist. The golden age of medicine is over.
“I have a lot of Medicare patients. With the new Medicare rules, my office has to be fully computerized by the end of this year or Medicare will not make reimbursements for anything. This computerization would cost in excess of $60,000 for the computer and software, in addition, printers, paper, maintenance, repairs, insurance and another one or two employees would be necessary.
“I myself would need to go back to school and learn typing. And for what? Instead of looking at a patient, face-to-face, I’d be looking int a computer screen and typing every word said. I would never do that.
“It is with sadness and reluctance that I say goodbye. I have known some of you 40 years, some just recently. I have always considered it an honor and privilege to have been part of your life. Medicine is a noble profession. I have loved the practice of medicine all these years. I will miss it and you too.”
Does this realization not scare you? It does me.
Dolores J. Alber