I did everything to keep revenue coming in
I did everything to keep revenue coming in
Dr. Raymond Oenbrink
Family Medicine
High Point, N.C.

As a solo physician, insurers give you a contract that you can't survive on. Solo physicians will have maybe 5,000 insured patients. So we don't have any power with insurers to negotiate our rates. But if you join a large group practice with 100,000 insured patients, then insurers become very interested in negotiating with you.

I joined and later took over a solo practice in South Florida. Over the past 10 years, I've lost $3 million because of poor reimbursement rates that I got from managed care companies. Many times I wouldn't even get paid. But I didn't stop seeing patients, and the situation only became worse and worse.

I did everything I could to keep revenue coming in. I had eight employees and all of my business expenses. I took up ancillary work to subsidize my practice. I became trained in alternative medicine. A friend of mine, a cardiologist, let primary care doctors rent equipment that's used for stress tests. So I started to do stress tests for patients every other Monday to get another means of reimbursement. I started to offer aesthetic and cosmetic medicine.

I eventually lost my home, lost a $1 million office building and shut down my practice in 2009. I was fortunate to find doctors for my 4,900 patients.

A few weeks ago, I accepted a permanent position at a large multi-practice group in North Carolina. I'm still $250,000 in debt from my practice. When I left the area in South Florida, I may have been the last solo practice left there.

By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney - Last updated January 10 2012: 8:29 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.