Support journalism that matters to you

Since COVID-19 impacts us all and we want everyone in our community to have the important information they need, we have decided to make all coronavirus related stories free to read on theday.com/coronavirus. While we are providing free access to articles, they are not free to produce. The newsroom is working long hours to provide you the news and information you need during this health emergency. Please consider supporting our work by subscribing or donating.

Frustrated and afraid, doctor hanging up stethoscope

In a few months I will retire, after more than 35 years, from a job I love − the practice of medicine. I am retiring years earlier than I had originally planned. Although I can only speak for myself about my reasons for retiring, I hope my example helps the public to understand why it is so difficult to find a doctor in southeastern Connecticut.

I am not retiring early for health reasons; my health is as good as ever. I am not retiring because I cannot do the job well; in fact, my years of experience give me the wisdom to be a better physician now than when I was younger. I am not being driven from practice by new technologies; I embrace the use of computers and think they help me provide more comprehensive care.

I have two major reasons for retiring from my medical practice. The first is frustration. I feel drained by spending a large portion of every workday fighting on behalf of my patients against a system that puts profits above care. Our system turns a blind eye to those who can least advocate for themselves. It is a system that punishes those health professionals who care more about their patients’ quality of life than meeting the requirements of insurers. I find the medical part of my job, dealing with the wonderful people of New London County, refreshing, but I end each day worn out by trying to get my patients the care they need and deserve.

The second reason for my early retirement is fear. I am afraid that a small billing error, such as a misplaced number, will result in my being charged with Medicare fraud with possible criminal prosecution. I am afraid that by saying hello to a patient I pass in the supermarket I am breaking a privacy law and will be fined (and I am even more afraid the patient that I don’t say hello to will think I don’t care about them). I am afraid that an unfortunate outcome for a patient could lead to a lawsuit that takes away everything that my family and I have accumulated over a lifetime of work. I am afraid that my office computer will be hacked, which can lead to government fines of $100 per day for each medical record stolen. And I am afraid that unwarranted, heavy-handed government tactics could ruin the reputation I have spent years developing.

So, I will soon go from being a provider of medical care to a consumer of medical care. I hope that there are doctors left in Connecticut who will fight to get me the care that I need.

Dr. Jay Ginsberg has a practice in Montville. 

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

TRENDING

PODCASTS