Family physician Lee Krantz shares his perspective on practicing medicine in the state of Maryland.
Maryland stands out as a great place to practice because it is a great place to both live and work, family physician Lee Krantz told Physicians Practice. Here's more on what he loves - and would change - about The Old Line State.
What do you enjoy about practicing in Maryland?
We are a microcosm of the United States and we have almost everything: beaches, the Chesapeake Bay, mountains, streams, lakes, and large cities. We are close enough to
New York to easily drive there. There are three international airports in the immediate area
and we are served by good highways, as well as Amtrak rail service. Maryland has history, culture, technology, food, and recreational opportunities to spare, so it is a fantastic place to live!
Strictly from a medical-practice standpoint, Maryland has a large number of well-insured federal and state employees. I do not participate in Medicaid programs, but I understand from my colleagues that the reimbursements are reasonable and about to rise to Medicare levels as part of Obamacare, at least for three years.
We have good specialist penetration and access to multiple tertiary health systems that actively compete for these referrals. From a primary-care standpoint, there are more patients than we can see, so we can be somewhat selective about who we will accept, and can readily dismiss those with inappropriate behavior. Our state is well served by both general and university hospitals, so patients can get up-to-date care and treatment for rare conditions.
What do you not enjoy or what would you change about practicing in Maryland?
Every coin has its flip side, and some of the things that make practice in Maryland great can also make it difficult. There are parts of the state that are crowded and traffic can be a problem. The tax and regulatory burden is greater here than in most states. Some of the taxes are almost comical such as the recently imposed "rain tax," which levies a fee on all impervious surfaces which prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground. Licensing fees as well as malpractice insurance are high.
I practice in the Baltimore/Washington suburbs and the cost of living is relatively high, though not as bad as California or New York. We have many who move just across the border into Pennsylvania or West Virginia solely to avoid the higher taxes and cost of living in Maryland. Hospitals are heavily regulated and even the bed rates are set by the state. This certainly gives some financial stability to the hospitals, but dramatically decreases competition and innovation. Maryland has a hefty income tax which supports a state government known best for corruption (Spiro Agnew was governor here) and inefficiency.
My last child is leaving for college next month, and it makes you a little philosophic about the future. As a primary-care physician, I could live anywhere, but I think that I will remain in Maryland.
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