Letter to the editor: Practicing medicine no longer joyful

A reader says that the business pressures of running a medical practice makes it no longer enjoyable.

Reading the December 25, 2013 issue literally nauseated me. I do not know how physicians and their medical practices can continue with all the pressure of change. I closed my practice in West Virginia seven years ago and moved on to an employee role at an urgent care in North Carolina. The stress of running a profitable business with all the rising costs and declining reimbursement had taken the joy out of practice, and it was time to move on to where I could enjoy patient care.

Now I wonder if any practice can be enjoyable, with electronic health records, International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act penalty rules, Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System, and more continuing to grow into realities. It is a sad time in American medicine. We should focus on the pleasure of caring for our patients while we still can before the whole system crashes.

 David H. Hopper, MD

Greensboro, North Carolina