A recent news report stated that the United States will soon be experiencing a shortage in general practitioners. Issues with insurance companies, long hours and stressful positions were cited as reasons that physicians were either cutting back hours or closing their practices. I can see both sides of the story. Insurance companies with all of the regulations require an inordinate amount of paperwork for reimbursement. This requires an exceptional office staff or an outsourced billing department. In my opinion the stress a physician experiences is more directly related to the stress of running the office not seeing patients. Most individuals become physicians because they want to help people not because the want to be an office manager and manage paperwork yet this is often the result. It’s no wonder we soon will be experiencing a shortage in physicians. What’s the lesson for you? Request copies of all of your medical records now and each time you attend an appointment until we’re at a point where there is a nationwide electronic medical records system. This way if your medical office or practice closes you will be the keeper of your personal medical information not a closed practice.