On the brink
On the brink
Dr. George Trakakis
Dentist
Chicago

Our biggest problem is insurance. Like medical doctors, unfortunately, we also have less and less money coming in from reimbursements.

Also, I am writing off huge amounts of money every month, about 30% to 40% that I just can't collect from patients. It's a sign of the times that patients are choosing treatments with no co-pays. If they have a toothache and need a root canal, there's a co-pay for that. Instead, they are asking to take the tooth out and leave the space open. There's no cost to them for that.

Or, they are coming in just for free cleaning. There's nothing wrong with that. It's their prerogative. But I'm losing money. In the last four years, I have subsidized my private practice with my personal funds -- credit cards and loans.

I had two private practices. I had to close one last year. I was losing about $10,000 a month there. I was able to transfer my 3,000 to 4,000 active patients to other doctors.

I am still losing money in my remaining practice. I have a second job at a big practice. Thank God for that. It gives me a paycheck to pay for my overhead costs at my one practice and keep that afloat.

I don't know how much longer I will keep the remaining practice. I contacted an attorney last month to discuss what to do. I don't want to file for bankruptcy. For me, it's embarrassing to start from the beginning. I wish we could get grants from the state or just have the state pay us faster.


By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney - Last updated January 10 2012: 8:29 AM ET
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