We sent out a newsletter to most of our patients in September and I also posted that newsletter here. To avoid redundancy, I will summarize the situation in a nutshell.
Every small, independent medical practice in America is struggling to stay afloat now, in the wake of Obamacare. Headache clinics are being hit much harder than the others because insurance companies see headache disorders as their last priority. Despite working as hard as we can possibly work, having an overwhelming demand for our services and running a bare-bones business, my personal debt, related to keeping this clinic open, has reached an unsustainable level. The crux of the problem is rapidly falling reimbursements from insurance companies and skyrocketing cost of running a medical practice.
In October, we started one last ditch effort to save the clinic by laying off two very good, full-time employees and aggressively cutting costs. The smoke has still not cleared, so we still don’t know our immediate future. I will say for sure, that one way or another our patients will not be abandoned. If we cannot continue to exist as Pacific Rim Headache Center, Dr. Moren and I will be employees of Cascade Neurologic in Mount Vernon next year.
As the smoke, dust (pick your metaphor) is starting to clear a little, there are some things that we do know and we want our patients to be prepared. For sure, I will not be in the country the entire month of January.
During January, Dr. Moren has agreed to work in Anacortes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He is a very competent headache specialist and my patients will be in good hands. Dr. Moren will continue to work in Bellingham on Fridays and Saturdays.
The big question is what is going to happen after January? Right now we don’t know. It depends on how much debt I can pay off between now and then. If we can’t exist here, as I said, we will be in Mount Vernon. We will let you know as soon as we know.
But we do want you to be prepared. Right now the demand for appointments has never been higher as other headache practices (for the same reason) are closing throughout the pacific Northwest. We are quickly booking out to the end of December. I don’t want anyone falling into the cracks in January. If you will be needing an appointment, refills or other needs before this transition, please call early and get your appointment on the books before it is too late. I will not be reachable by phone in January as I will be living completely off the grid.
J. Michael Jones, MPAS-C