The Practice of Primary Care & Baby Boomers

Side Note: The article below reviews a new book, Out of Practice, by Frederick M. Barken, M.D. The book is a narrative of one upstate New York primary care physician’s decision to retire early and his reasons why.

The book discusses many frustrating scenarios that are very familiar to most primary care docs. Specifically, Dr. Barken talks at length about the challenges of caring for the Baby Boomer generation. Included are discussions of poor Medicare payments, the fact that practices often require physicians to see 30-35 patients per day, and thus allows no room for sick or medically complex patients, and the high cost of physician liability insurance.

Knowing that these problems are only going to get worse, Dr. Barken poses a unique solution: create a physician draft. He suggests that medical school graduates must serve two years as a primary care physician before being allowed to train in a specialty. Read on for the details of his radical solution.

As the article below mentions, medical malpractice insurance rates can be high. We here at Cunningham Group can work with you to get the best rates available for you and your practice today.

Medical Crisis in America: Why One Doctor Quit
By: MELINDA BURNS, Miller-McCune
Posted: October 8, 2011

Baby Boomer with PhysicianPrimary care physicians in America are struggling with what is and what will be: a health care system that’s broken and the coming influx of aging baby boomers, according to Frederick M. Barken, M.D. in his book, Out of Practice.

By most measures, Dr. Barken was a success as a primary care doctor. He ran a solo practice in rural upstate New York with 3,000 patients; he was well respected, and he earned a comfortable income. But after 25 years, at the relatively young age of 51, he’d had enough. In his new book, Barken tells how he was driven out by the extraordinary demands of a frail and befuddled elderly clientele in the era of “fast food” medical care.

Read the Full Article

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