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Our family physician who has treated my Grandparents and Parents for more than 30 years and me for a brief time, has changed his practice a bit. He sent out a letter detailing this change and I find I’m pretty grossed out by the whole thing. In my opinion he is getting greedy in the face of retirement and wants some cash.

He has decided to downsize his practice to only 600 patients. For an annual fee of $1,500 to become his patient, we will have access to him 24-7 via his home and cellphone numbers and “enhanced coordination of care with specialists”. We are guaranteed on time, unhurried same or next day appointments. In his letter he simply states that studies show this is the best way to deliver personal care and that this will enhance our doctor-patient relationship. I’d like to see these studies that say I should shell out $1,500 annually for a doctor to accept me as his patient.

Here’s the thing. Right now we don’t pay an annual premium and we have access to him 24-7 including his cell number and all of the specialists he refers. He visits my family members in the hospital and is the only medical doctor who has not kept ever me waiting. I mean not once. So now he wants almost a MILLION dollars in cash from 600 people to stay in business?

He is a good doctor, I won’t deny that. But this feels a bit like extortion and that really doesn’t enhance our doctor- patient relationship. It just pisses me off and makes me feel used.

I’m guessing that if his plan works, he will retire in a year or two. I think it’s a better idea for us to just move forward and build a relationship with a new doctor who isn’t going to demand a cash retainer like a lawyer.