Some time ago, I did a post on my own blog about doctors dropping out of Medicare and many quitting all insurance. I really got thinking about this after the American Geriatric Society meeting in Chicago last year. I met a woman geriatrician, the only fellowship trained geriatric specialist in central Iowa. She had quit Medicare. That sounds a bit suicidal if all your patients are Medicare age. What had happened was she was being harassed by Medicare because she was seeing patients too often. Many of them were frail elderly living at home. She dropped out and began charging her patients cash for services. She was making a decent living after a year and was happy with her decision. I don’t know how many realize that geriatrics, as a specialty, is a university subsidized field. There is no private geriatric practice because the doctor can’t survive on what Medicare pays. She tried and had to quit. She is doing it on her own now.
The Weekly Standard has an interesting article this week on this trend. The doctor is not near retirement , as many of the folks I had previously talked to were. It took a lot of guts for him to start out this way and he explains why.
There are a couple of errors in the article and I will point them out.