To the Editor:
“More Doctors Giving Up Private Clinics” is a sad commentary on the state of medicine in 21st-century America. While it’s true that there can be great economies of scale when physicians merge their private practices into large hospitals and health systems, many of my colleagues have had quite negative experiences in such systems.
The primary-care physician is often the “low man on the totem pole.” His or her practice needs are frequently left to languish as administrators cater to the highly paid specialists who bring their reputations, not to mention highly reimbursed procedures. This is despite numerous studies that demonstrate that those patients who are cared for by a primary-care physician have lower health care costs, fewer hospitalizations and a healthier life.
Rather than sublimate the very “primacy” of primary care by selling ourselves to a large health maintenance organization or hospital system, my partners and I have charted another course by forming the pediatrician-owned and pediatrician-run Allied Pediatrics of New York. Most of us continue to operate in our original 18 neighborhood offices. Now a group of 75 pediatricians, we have been able to use our size to lower our costs for claims processing and medical and office supplies.
We’ve done this in order to preserve our physician-owned, private practice of medicine.
Gary S. Mirkin
Allied Pediatrics of New York
Great Neck, N.Y., March 27, 2010