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gradBy Warren R. Heymann, MD
June 19, 2018

The relentless drumbeat of dictates, regulations, prior authorizations, audits, and social media reviews is taking its toll on physicians’ psyche. Combined with downward reimbursement, narrow insurance networks, pressure to be increasingly productive, and far too many clicks on the electronic medical record, it is not surprising many physicians have questioned their career choice.

I am not immune to these stresses. I could not wait for last week to end, after mollifying disgruntled patients over scheduling snafus, dealing with insurance grief, and feeling at a diagnostic loss with my last consultation on Friday. Father’s Day was a wonderful respite with my wife and daughters. When I returned Monday morning, a personal letter was waiting for me. In the Paleolithic pre-computer era, I would receive many letters covering a panoply of issues. Whenever I receive personal letters now, I usually open them with trepidation, wondering what crisis awaits.

Dr. Heymann,

Words cannot express how grateful we are for you. Our daughter, Annie, graduated this week. While you treated her for severe acne through isotretinoin treatment, you also treated her self-esteem and fear. She never thinks about her face and her scars anymore (which are greatly diminished) and rarely has a break-out. We thank you for realizing teenagers’ fears and complexities and tackling them with sensitivity and kindness. She still talks about you as being her favorite doctor and jokes about inviting you to her wedding. So, just remember, your ordinary days are extraordinary to your patients and that has to be rewarding for sure. She is off to the University of Delaware to study Medical Diagnostics (pre-Physician’s Assistant) and just finished her EMT certification but most importantly, she is going with a sense of assurance that good doctors like you will always be there for her.

PS — I’ve enclosed a few pictures of her beauty (inside and out).

Take care,

Dolores and Jim Hoffman

I am grateful to the Hoffmans for having taken the time to write this letter — I am still smiling. I’m sure many patients are appreciative of the care they have received, but in this time-starved world, may not express it. Communication is also a two-way street — I am appreciative of every patient who chooses our practice when there are so many other excellent doctors in the Delaware Valley.

I am also delighted that Annie will embark on a wonderful career in healthcare, with justified confidence.

There are many physicians who would not encourage their children to follow in their footsteps. In 1970, my late mother advised me to go into medicine for three reasons that were valid at the time — autonomy, money, and respect. Almost half a century later the landscape has changed.

The best reason to choose medicine is the one that has always existed — the chance to  improve the quality of life for those in need. Nothing can compare to that.

*My thanks to the Hoffman family for allowing me to publish the letter and Annie’s graduation photograph.

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