Practice closure notice
Dear WHA Patient,
Years ago, we could never have imagined writing this letter. But now the time has come, and we are just so sad to say “good bye” to you. We will be closing our practice of Women’s Health Associates PC at the end of this year.
Many people are aware that medicine in general, and small private practices in particular have changed a great deal in the past 10-20 years. Insurance reimbursements are decreasing, so we are paid less for the same services. Insurance companies will not negotiate with small practices, so larger groups are forming. Expenses such as rent, medical supplies and malpractice insurance are climbing. We have enormous computer and IT support expenses, and these are only increasing with the additional future requirements for meaningful use. It is easy to see that earning less and spending more is not a recipe for economic success.
Outside of our economic struggles, we have simply not been able to achieve a work/life balance that is sustainable or acceptable. With work days lasting from 12 to 24 hours, and on-call duties every other night, every other weekend, and every other holiday, we are not able to give our families or ourselves the energy and attention that they deserve. We have tried to find other arrangements for call, but this has not been successful.
This has still been a very difficult and emotional decision to make. While the practice has been exhausting, it has also been intensely personal and rewarding. There are some of you who have been patients for 10 or even 20 years. There are dozens of baby girls delivered here who have now grown to be our patients. We have entire families who have delivered all their children with us. We have treated three generations of the same family, and we have seen entire groups of sisters or coworkers. We have removed your fibroids or stopped your bleeding or helped you through infertility or treated your pain or enabled you to not get pregnant. We have heard your personal and medical stories, and we know your families. There is no specialty that is more intimate and connected with its patients.
You have rewarded us with your loyalty, your referrals, and your commuting back to see us after moving far away (even some patients who have moved to other states or even other countries have come back to see us!). We have treasured your thank you notes, baby photos, flowers and candies, but, even more, your kind words and personal connection.
Medical Records: While the practice will not provide any medical care after December 31, 2013, we will keep one staff member for four months; until the end of April 2014. She will close out all billing and insurance issues, and she will have access to our EMR database and a copier until the end of April 2014. It is in your best interest to request your records now, as all records will be sent to a medical record retention center on May 1, 2014. Starting on May 1 the processing time and cost of your records will be out of our control; an increase in both should be anticipated. Due to HIPAA regulations, we are required to receive this record request in writing. We have included a Record Request form with this letter. We have also included a list of ObGyn practitioners in this area
Please know that we do not take this decision lightly. Our lease will be expiring and we both will be moving on to situations where we can spend more of our time actually practicing medicine instead of working on administration, finance and IT. We will also have more family friendly schedules.
We sincerely apologize to those of you who might be upset by this change. We appreciate your being a part of our practice. If you have any overdue appointments or tests, we encourage you to complete them with us prior to December 31st.
Our best wishes for you and your health,
Elizabeth Garreau MD
Theresa M.Soto, MD