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Opinion: Closing of Porter Internal Medicine raising questions

The reporting on the situation at Porter Medical Center has raised a number of questions in my mind and I thought I might like to express them and see whether some answers might emerge.
I am one of Dr. Hodde’s many patients who will be in search of a new primary care doctor. Upon my first meeting with her I asked, as a 71-year-old, if I might expect that she would be able to “see me out,” so to speak. She indicated that she had no intention of going anywhere.
Did she change her mind, or did things change significantly enough that she felt she could no longer stay? She is competent, well respected, lives locally and has a young family. Why would she decide to commute to Burlington and take on a job where she will be working seven 12-hour shifts followed by seven days off? Maybe she wants to be out of synch with the rest of her world.
I’m surprised that the hospital no longer sees the need for an on-site internal medicine practice. I wonder whether there are too many elderly patients with numerous health problems that create too much expense for what Medicare is willing to pay. Does anyone know the answer to that?
Is an ear, nose and throat practice more lucrative?
What exactly is meant by “quality and productivity incentives”? Do doctors get paid more if they can complete a patient visit every 15 minutes? Is that in the line of quality or productivity? I guess I’d like to understand better the new salary system. I’m sorry I missed the meeting. Maybe it was explained.
I guess it’s clear that all this doesn’t feel very good to the customers. It feels a lot like “smoke and mirrors.” Fortunately for me, I am enjoying good health. I hope it lasts a long time.
Winifred Thomas
Middlebury 

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