Probably the hardest part of making the change from a traditional to a direct-care practice is the effect it has on relationships. I am only taking a maximum of 1000 patients (less at the start) and will be no longer accepting insurance. These changes make it impossible for me to continue in a doctor-patient relationship with most of my patients.
For some, this transition will be more hassle than anything. Some people do everything they can to avoid my office, and so are not going to be greatly affected by my absence. They will simply choose another provider in our office and continue avoidance as always. There are others who see me as their doctor, but they haven’t built a strong bond with me (despite my charm), so the change may even be a welcome relief, or a chance to avoid initiating the change to another doctor.
But there are many people, some of which have already expressed this, for whom my departure will be traumatic. ”Nobody else knows me or understands me like you do,” one person told me this week. ”I’ve seen you for so many years, you just know so much more about me than any other doctor,” said another. I’ve seen tears, have gotten hugs, and get frequent demands for a clearer explanation as to what I am doing and why. It’s been a rough week for me, as I don’t feel I can cut off these relationships without some sort of closure. Fore someone who sometimes goes overboard in the importance of others not being mad, it’s been hell.