In a recent letter she advised that she'll soon change to a concierge-type practice, primarily to reduce the size of her current practice and increase her availability to the patients who stay with her. The letter went on to outline her reasons for making the change, and I understand all of them. I don't blame her a bit.
I'd love to continue being her patient, but the changes she's making will come at a cost, and I can't afford it. There'll be an upfront fee of $1,650 per person per year. I'm guessing that only two groups of people will be willing to pay a fee like that: 1) people who have plenty of disposable income and don't mind absorbing the cost in exchange for greater access to a physician, and 2) folks whose current health issues cause them to spend a lot of time in the doctor's office and who, as a result, are desperate to maintain that important doctor-patient relationship regardless of personal sacrifice. I don't fall into either category.
Normally, I see this doctor twice a year for routine blood work and prescription renewals. At that rate the new fee would amount to $825 a visit, not including actual per-visit charges for office visits, x-rays, lab work, etc., that will still be billed to insurance carriers under the new plan. To fit the annual fee into my budget I'd need to cancel my cable TV and my Internet service, neither of which is crucial to my existence, I realize, but both of which contribute more to the quality of my life than longer doctor's visits would. (I'm knocking on wood now to cancel out any jinxes created by that last sentence.)
So. I wish her well. I really do. If this will make her workday more pleasant, the work itself more rewarding, she'd be silly not to go for it. But I, for one, will miss her.
In the meantime, it's sinking in that I've been plunged unexpectedly into a doctor-shopping race with other soon-to-be-former patients. Wish me luck.