I want to let you know that effective June 16 2014, I will no longer be able to serve as your primary care physician… I have greatly enjoyed caring for you and want to assure you that it is very important to me that you have the smoothest transition possible to your new doctor.
To make sure you are in high quality hands, I have arranged for ___to be your new doctor. He is an excellent physician whom I believe you will like very much.
It has been my privilege to be your physician.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Except that I’ve never met this doctor.
When I first enrolled at Kaiser six years ago, I had a doctor assigned to me, whom I may have visited twice in four years before she transferred to another medical center. Then I chose another physician from among the few who were still accepting new patients. I think I saw her twice in two years before she also transferred elsewhere. Then I was assigned another doctor about six months ago. Except for a routine mammogram and a visit to my nurse practitioner, I had no health issues, so I had no occasion to ever meet my last primary care physician.
But he apparently has very fond thoughts of me. And he’s chosen just the right doctor for me, and—knowing me so well—believes I will like him. I wonder how long this one will last. Maybe I should make an appointment right away so that at least I get to meet him before he has to send me a letter telling me how much he enjoyed caring for me.
I really should write him back and tell him how abandoned I feel, how I’ll miss his tender touch, his charming bedside manner, his hilarious jokes about staph infections. Maybe I should pretend that he diagnosed some condition of mine and that I’m eternally grateful for the personal care he showed me.
Or maybe I should just shut up and be grateful that I have health care.