Thursday, September 25, 2003

Why is this here?

Practicing medicine in today's environment is hard enough and getting harder. Too much to do (empathetic listening to patient concerns, diagnosing their ailments, answering questions about herbal supplement XYZ, ordering tests, writing prescriptions, making sure preventive care guidelines are being met, charting a complete and defensible progress note, assigning the correct ICD-9 and CPT codes, making referrals, answering phone messages and e-mail, filling out insurance/disability/school forms, following up on test results, etc) and not enough time to do it in (15 minutes per patient).

Uh, right.

This site will chronicle my attempt to replicate what family practitioner Dr. Gordon Moore has pioneered in his "solo-solo practice" (Going Solo: Making the Leap) in the hopes of regaining some control and sanity in my professional (and personal) life. Hopefully, my experiences can help anyone else who might be attempting the same foolhardy stupid insane brave endeavor, and ease their transition while avoiding some of my pitfalls.

A very helpful resource is Dr. Moore's Practice Improvement website where other physicians share their thoughts and experiences on how to improve the practice of medicine.

Some background: I am currently a Family Physician with Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, CA, and have been there for the past 13 years. Our clinic is very busy but the people there are very dedicated and hard-working, and Kaiser has consistently won awards for its quality of care. But quality medical care has its costs, not just financial, but emotional and psychological, too. Because of the conditions listed above, I submitted my resignation 2 weeks ago.

Kaiser is a closed self-sufficient system, so basically I'm starting out as if from residency. Others who are already in private practice will no doubt have an easier time of this than me.

So far, I've found that I can't apply for participation with private insurers until I have hospital privileges. Which I can't apply for without malpractice insurance. Which I can't get without a business location. I am narrowing my choices in office space, and hope to secure a business location in the next two weeks. And since it can take about 6 months to get approval for participation in health plans, I may be sitting in my shiny new office with no patients for the 1st 3 months of my fledgling practice.

Hmmm. Did I say this endeavor was brave? I think I was right the first time.

Countdown: 102 days until target start date.