I just received the following letter from my ENT (I went to him once, when I had labyrinthitis):
To all my patients,
After over 46 years of practicing otolaryngology I have decided to retire. I have enjoyed my medical life and leave it with some regrets. Although I am still in good health, the economics of medicine today leaves me with little choice.
All business costs steadily increase, but much of our reimbursement is fixed by our government at a level it considered reasonable 15 years ago and is going down this year.
A recent statement by the St. Mary's Hospital Chief of Staff is very true: "Federal and state laws and imposed regulations have made doctors wage slaves of the federal government and insurers, medicine a public utility, and patients victim of an unjust system of health care delivery."
The cost to practice medicine will continue to increase, even without the gigantic outlays expected for implementing electronic health records, yet the federal government plans to continue to decrease physician reimbursement annually.
Of course, this is a guy who spent about ten minutes talking to me, looked in my ears, and charged about $300 for this.