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Doctors Can't Afford to See You Either

By HERWriter Guide
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Doctors have a certain stereotype, according to some. When they can't be found, it's assumed they're on the golf course, or perhaps out on their boats, enjoying the perks of the job.

Indeed, many doctors make a very good living, with few struggling to make rent on a small apartment or depending on public transportation because they can't afford a basic car.

But while they are certainly not considered the working poor, some doctors in private practice are struggling to keep their clinics open, simply because they can't afford them.

About 50 percent of doctors in America run their own private practices and many are running out of money. There are many reasons why -- from smaller insurance payments, to paying salaries to support staff and the cost of running a business.

Huge cuts (up to 40 percent) in Medicare payouts for basic services that check for heart health are not helping, as well as the Medicare plan to cut payment to doctors for their services by up to 30 percent.

This is what some doctors believe will be the death knoll to their clinics. Additionally, many owe drug companies anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

CNN Money reported on one doctor, the highly respected oncologist Dr. Neil Barth, who owes drug companies 1.5 million dollars and is considering filing for personal bankruptcy as a result. He has to turn away desperate cancer patients purely because he cannot afford to see them.

His once highly profitable clinic is now drowning in debt. He expects this debt to increase and may have to close his private practice in favor of consulting in hospitals.

CNN Money also reported that one doctor, Dr. William Pentz, 47, a cardiologist in Pennsylvania, had to pay staff out of his own personal funds last year and are not paying themselves their full salaries, to compensate. He worries that Medicare cuts may end his practice.

"I can't keep working this way." He says that "...if this continues, I might seriously consider leaving medicine."

Another issue that business experts believe is integral to the problem is that doctors are medical, rather than business experts.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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