Where did July go? What month is it now? It seems days roll into weeks and weeks roll into months these days. July was a rough month for us. Going back to a solo practice with a staff of 4 has been challenging with over 3,000 patients that come here for their medical needs. It’s been quite an eye opener how our patients have responded to the changes that we are going through. Let me explain. I have categorized my patients into 3 groups.
The first group of patients are the strongest supporters of our clinic. These patients truly care about me and my staff that takes care of them. They ask about how we are doing, how the clinic is doing, and how they can help us. They are the ones that join our concierge membership so that we can keep our doors open. They leave positive reviews for us, and bring us treats from time to time when they see we are stressed. They care about us just as much as we care about them. It’s a mutual relationship-friendship. Love you guys !!!
The second group of patients are the casual and flexible patients. They like coming here and we are happy to see each other. I fulfill their medical needs and they are satisfied with the care we provide for them. They understand the struggles of running a private practice and are flexible with our scheduling as they are not in a position to join our concierge program or feel they need to. It’s a mutual understanding that they can continue to come here until we eventually go 100 % concierge medicine in the near future. The relationship is appreciative and mutual.
The third and last group are the complainers. OMG. These patients complain about not knowing that we have downsized our practice and staffing, and they are very demanding and rude. These needy patients complain they can’t come in, wants care without being seen, that our schedule does not work with their schedule, and create unnecessary stress and disrupts our patient flow by tying up our staff. This is the new reality with the pandemic and it’s very simple. It’s a supply and demand issue: not enough supply of appointments to meet the demands of patients who want an appointment right away. We are now scheduling patients 6-8 weeks out for regular appointments, like most other clinics around here. If you are unhappy that we are not meeting your needs, please look for a new provider and let us know where to send your medical records. I do not want to hear that you have been mean and yelling at my staff. If you mess with my staff, you are messing with me and you will be dismissed from our clinic immediately. I believe it’s time we reduce our patient load and clean house and let go of patients that do not care about us or our well-being. It’s a one way relationship where we serve them. And we don’t need these types of relationships as they are toxic to us.
I am hoping that August will be a better month for us as we continue to adjust our schedule and patient flow to help as many patients as we possibly can. Thank you for being patient and reasonable with us. Stay safe during this pandemic and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Dr. Erik Suh