Slow Death of the Neighborhood Doctor

Slow Death of the Neighborhood Doctor

(As featured in the Huffington Post)

New York has another name to add to its endangered species list — the individual family doctor.

No one enjoys dealing with insurance companies, especially when you are trying to obtain coverage for a medical procedure. Spending hours on the phone, or going back and forth over bills or pre-authorization for a test, can make anyone’s blood boil. Now imagine if that was your job.

For many physicians throughout New York State, negotiating with insurance companies has become a primary component of their job description. Your average small family doctor may spend more time trying to get an insurer to cover a visit than he or she does caring for actual patients.

A new study by has highlighted some of these issues and has dubbed New York one of the worst states for doctors to practice medicine.

The repercussions are clear. Patients’ wait times are increasing and the time spent with the physician is getting shorter. Individual physician practices have very little ability to negotiate one-on-one with large insurance companies, because they are too small. However, if the law allowed them to group together with other small practices to negotiate contracts, patients would receive better care and have more of their medical bills covered.