To the Editor:
As patients of Dr. Michael Michotek, my husband and I are devastated to learn that he will no longer be our primary care physician. We are two of those older patients “with chronic and complicated medical problems,” who have lived through many changes in medical care on the Island. We were both born in the original M.V. Cottage Hospital, and our families belonged to PCP practices where, when necessary, Dr. Nevin or Dr. Rappaport made house calls. Care “improvement” over the years has emphasized specialized over GPs.
We have both cycled through the ever-changing number of doctors who practice for a time then leave. We’ve tried Island Health Care, only to have to “dial for doctors” to get a same-day appointment with our primary there when we were very ill. And then we heard about Dr. Michotek’s practice. What a relief. A doctor who comes to your house, sees you every three months (more if issues occur), who answers his own phone (no going through secretaries, booking appointments, office hours, sitting and waiting because the doctor is running late), and who makes getting medication refills easy. This is what medicine should be replicating, especially for the aging or for infants and young children.
The M.V. Hospital/Art Museum is a lovely building. It is staffed by friends and family, which you don’t get at the mega-hospitals. But the attitude of CEO Schepici — “cannot grant unfettered access to anyone … to protect the privacy of patients …” may be HIPAA regulation, but a practicing, licensed physician (Dr. Michotek) is not just “anyone.” If we were admitted to the hospital, we would want Dr. Michotek to be notified and to continue to be involved in our care. The statement by communications specialist Marissa Lefebvre that Dr. Michotek “has the same level of access that any other visiting physician would have to the hospital” is an affront to Dr. Michotek. He is not a visiting physician. He lives here, and provides a very necessary and important contribution to healthcare on the Island.
We believe the M.V. Hospital/Art Museum has been trying to sabotage the kind of rural care that Dr. Michotek gives because they can’t get money for billable hours or office rent. Dr. Michotek’s practice is the rural healthcare model M.V. Hospital/Art Museum should be exploring and encouraging for the growing number of elderly patients on the Island. We think the hospital should have bent over backward to make this kind of care happen.
We are so sorry to see Dr. Michotek go. He has provided the best medical care we’ve experienced since our childhood 70-plus years ago. Dr. Mike, you were ahead of your time.
And now to call the M.V. Hospital/ Art Museum patient access number to hear (when you finally get the right live person) that no doctors are taking new patients.
Nancy-Alyce and Brian Abbott