The New York Times recently published a very touching, well-crafted article detailing the plight of a solo physician in small-town Maryland. Dr. Ronald Sroka has seen his once-lucrative practice diminish to a point where, as the headline notes, “Family Physician Can’t Give Away Solo Practice.”

The description of his practice—one centered on friendly, intimate chats with patients—almost recalls the era of the horse and buggy. This physician, like many of his middle-aged peers, has seen medicine lose so many of the characteristics that made it appealing in the first place. Relationships with payers have become more contentious, and the pressure to squeeze in more and more patient visits just to break even has become intense. As the Times points out, the physician entering medicine today no longer is as interested in the long hours and on-call rotations that have long characterized the field.

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