The Return Of Marcus Welby, MD?

The trend of physicians no longer accepting health insurance is spreading, with even more of them switching over to cash-only practices. I mentioned one Minnesota doctor who made the switch and is glad she did.

Now comes the story of Dr. Brian Forrest, his practice in North Carolina, and how he shed the frustrations and costs of dealing with health insurance companies, all to the betterment of his patients and his bottom line.

In an age of family physicians literally not being able to give away their practices, Brian Forrest has built a successful model that is similar to the age of Marcus Welby where there was a direct relationship between a patient and their doctor. Practices such as Forrest’s Access Healthcare in North Carolina run unencumbered by insurance hassles.

As word of Dr. Forrest’s direct pay practice has spread, he has had a constant stream of physicians visiting his practice so others could learn how he has a successful financial model, happy patients and a sane lifestyle – something increasingly less common in the hamster-wheel model of primary care that is prevalent in current fee-for-service based primary care practices. Dr. Forrest runs a cash-only practice sees 16 patients a day at a maximum, works a 40 hour week and takes home more than the average family physician a year with a highly satisfied patient base that pays less than those in fee-for-service, insurance models.

It's gotten to the point where the cost of accepting health insurance by primary care practices has become burdensome, both financially and in time, with doctors working long hours, seeing 40 patients a day or more, becoming detached from their patients because of time constraints, and being less well compensated for their time. Too many primary care practices have become nothing more than 'factory' medicine, much to the detriment of both health care professionals and their patients. Is it any wonder more doctors are abandoning the present model of medical practices and returning to older, more personal and satisfying models?