Monday, September 29, 2003

Don't leave work without it

I mailed my application for disability insurance last Friday. Even though I have about 3 months to go before I lose my disability insurance through my current job, I figure I'd rather not take a chance of going without it for even a little while. Having needed it once before when an Achilles tendon rupture put me out of work for 3 months, I really understand how important this can be. As a solo practitioner, being disabled would mean no patients and no income without disability insurance. I applied for AAFP's disability insurance which pays you if you are not able to continue working as an FP. I guess some disability insurance plans won't pay if you are able to do some other kind of work.

The importance of having good disability insurance was driven home the week before when one of my friends, a Urologist, was shot 3 times by a disgruntled patient in the clinic. Luckily he survived and is now recovering, while his assailant later committed suicide. Apparently, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but my friend said he had absolutely no warning that anything like that would happen with this person. And I believe it. My friend, unlike some busy specialists, is an easy-going, empathetic and patient physician who takes the time to explain things and listen to a patient's concerns. But he only gets 15 minutes per patient, like me, for returning patients. Some studies have found an association between patient satisfaction and the amount of time patients spend with their physicians. I wonder if things might have ended up differently if they could have had more time to talk. This is something that frightens me, as it should frighten us all. If this can happen to as nice a guy as him, then it certainly could happen to any of us.

As my friend said, "I don't know if I can go back and do things the way they've been done."

I know I won't.

Countdown: 98 days until target start date