Maribeth Lewis-Baker: When doctors can’t afford to practice |

Maribeth Lewis-Baker: When doctors can’t afford to practice

Maribeth Lewis-Baker

(Frisco’s) Dr. Shiffman is just one of a growing trend of doctors who have come to the difficult decision of leaving private practice or reinventing how they do business because the insurance game has made it unprofitable/undesirable for private practice as a physician.

Before I moved to Summit County in late 2007, the family doctor my family was utilizing in Las Vegas (Dr. Bill) mailed out a letter informing his patients that he, too, could no longer afford to practice medicine and play the insurance game.

Dr. Bill reinvented how he chose to do business and set up a membership-only clinic. For a per family member fee, you could subscribe to his practice, which included a comprehensive annual physical and a series of wellness tests. For one annual price, your membership granted you longer appointments, more personalized care, and 24/7 access to the doctor for when you happened to be ill. (More on his practice at

Dr. Bill would provide you the necessary documentation if you wanted to attempt to get reimbursement from your insurance for office visits, but Dr. Bill was no longer going to play the insurance game. It was a difficult choice for Dr. Bill, because not every existing patient or family would be available to afford his new business model, but for those who could – it meant he could spend more time being a doctor and providing quality care – the kind of care Dr. Bill felt every patient deserved but was not getting when he was a slave of the insurance companies. Dr. Bill’s goal was to focus on being a good doctor.

Unfortunately, I think this will be the growing trend, where the independent physician decides that it’s just not worth it. The coming health care reforms do nothing to solve the issue either.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.