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When Your Work Spirals Out of Control …

It’s time to change your business model

December 11, 2012 By Denny Hatch
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When Peggy and I moved to Philadelphia 20 years ago and were looking for a doctor, someone recommended "Dr. Tom Harrow" (not his actual name), with a practice five blocks from our home across the street from the teaching hospital where he's clinical assistant professor of medicine.

I went to see him for a physical and he was (and is) terrific. Soft spoken, he asked a lot of questions, listened to my replies and took extensive notes. And he examined me expertly from toes to nose.

Peggy and I have since been back to him numerous times and he has been simply great—thorough, meticulous and a diligent note-taker. The specialists he has referred us to are the top people in the Philadelphia area.

On the wall of the little examining room is a huge framed montage of sports photographs along with badges, sideline permits and tickets. I discovered he was not only head team physician for one of Philadelphia's major sports teams, but also lead internist for another. We see him sometimes on TV ministering banged-up athletes.

With the combined salaries of these two teams being roughly $200 million a year, the owners would be nuts to entrust their precious assets to anything less than a world-class physician. From first-hand experience, I can testify that Dr. Harrow is world-class.

When I turned 65, I went to see Dr. Harrow for something or other and we talked Medicare. I said I assumed that the federal government's Medicare reimbursement payments were lousy and that if there were any tests or treatments he wanted to perform that he would lose money on, I would gladly make up the difference.

His icy response: "Under Medicare, it would be illegal for me to take extra money from you. I could lose my license to practice."

The Downward Spiral
Alas, over the past several years, Dr. Harrow's service deteriorated. Sometimes we would phone in to get a prescription renewed and we'd get no return call. Or the line was busy. It got to the point where I would have to walk over to his office and physically hand the pill bottle to one of the office personnel who would arrange to call it into Rite-Aid.

I started resenting him. We'd make an appointment and then wind up sitting in the crowded waiting room for an hour or more.

 
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