My First Patient
All right so just so we can get the formalities out of the way, no my patient isn’t dying but they are leaving the practice. This person has been a patient of mines since I got out of residency & started working for this company. They were my very first patient as a brand new attending & like most things you never forget your first. I remember when I first started and I was nervous because they had been referred to me by their insurance company and I had to put my brave face on like I wasn’t scared to death about what was about to walk thru my door.
So the patient walks in clearly a bit nervous as they are walking into this office for the very first time & here I am this young looking kid who is now their primary care physician. Of course with my luck my first patient is far from your simple wellness visit but they are actually coming in for a preoperative clearance. Just getting the history I can tell that this was definitely a person who was far from your simple medical case so here we are both in the room sweating bullets. They are nervous because they are about to have this surgical procedure and I am nervous because I want to make absolutely clear that they would be ready to go. Fast forward 2+ years and it was obvious that the procedure was a success but I always made it a point to let them know they were my first patient so they know how important they are.
So why are they leaving?
The simplest explanation is that I have become too expensive. Now of course when I say that “I have become too expensive” I mean her insurance plan that I was on. This time of year is open enrollment so I have quite a few patients that will be switching insurance carriers because their old plan will be getting too expensive. I remember being on the other side of that move when a majority of my new patients earlier this year were being seen in the office because their old physician no longer took their Florida Blue insurance (Affordable Care Act plans). It was a crazy time because I had patients who had seen their doctor in January and because Blue Cross decided to change what they were offering per patient couldn’t even do a follow up appointment the month after. Now I am the victim of patients leaving me.
So where to now..
I just hope that I made a great impression on my first patient. I joke with my patients that in south florida you can blindly throw a rock & hit a physician's office so I know that you all have PLENTY of choices when it comes to choosing who takes care of your health. I am just glad that I was able to take care of my first patient's health for this long and they will be leaving me healthier than when they first walked in to see me.