Friday, August 19, 2011

Leaving for Private Practice

Recently, several doctors that my family uses told me that they are leaving the hospital where they practice to become independent. I was surprised to hear this, because I had read that the the opposite is true: doctors are leaving private practice for the safety of a steady hospital salary.

Our doctors' frustrations, however, were legion. They disagreed with the hospital's billing practices, and were disappointed with the poor upkeep of the buildings. They suspected that political wranglings would block planned renovations to the hospital.

I had to agree with them on all these counts. As exhausted new parents, we tangled with the hospital's aggressive billing department just a few weeks after my oldest child was born. One of the hospital's parking garages has no elevators, which is fine unless you are pregnant, injured, nauseous, or disabled. Once, we had to carry a seriously ill child through a long, dark, underground tunnel in the belly of the hospital to hand-deliver a specimen for testing.

While sending us and our insurer bills regularly, the hospital also periodically asks for donations to its charities and building campaign. I decided long ago that we had given enough.

Despite the hassles, though, we have received excellent care from the doctors affiliated with the hospital, which kept us coming back. It's been nice to have most of our providers all in one place. Now we will need to drive all over town for doctor's visits, as our trusted community of doctors slowly disperses.

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