top of page

Patient Newsletter: June 2024

Seeing me.

Dear Patients and Friends,

As many of you know, our youngest, Hadley, is the last one left at home. She is almost 17 and will be leaving for college next year. I am not new to launching kids — 2/3 are out and doing amazing things. It is that she is MY buddy. MY girl. My mini-me. Even as I write these words, my heart is aching, and I am fighting tears.

When the kids were small, I was always busy. I was building the practice and running a charity I was so passionate about. I have often talked about all the things I missed with them. But the truth is, I would not change those days. I needed to do all of that to be here. So, now, with a practice full of amazing, like-minded, and hand-picked clinicians and support teams, I don’t have to keep missing things.

This is the main rationale behind my decision not to see patients over the summer.

I have heard from some of my long-time patients about the frustration this has caused. Many people have said they only want to “see me” — not anyone else. Whenever I hear that, I let the sting pass first and then realize these sentiments stem from a relationship of utter trust. My patients trust me, need me, and expect to see me. This is the most humbling compliment any doctor could ask for.

My limited office availability goes much deeper than the summer 2024 schedule. My patient hours have generally been reduced over the past few years, and there are many reasons for this.

First, I am 53 years old. I have been in practice for 25 years and have been operating this practice for 20.

I am tired.

For years, I saw patients at 6 am and often had hours till 8 pm. As much as I hate to admit it, my body doesn’t handle those hours well anymore. I used to pop out of bed at 4 am, run to the gym, hit the office for a 10-hour day, come home, cook dinner, sleep 6-7 hours, and get up and do it all again. Those days are gone. I also have the perspective of seeing firsthand the negative impact overworking has on us as we age. I don’t want to age poorly. I want to be around for my kids' graduations, weddings, and someday (if my kids are reading this — long, long, long from now) grandkids.

Second, this practice has grown so much. We opened with a solo provider, two employees, and two examining rooms. There are 23 clinicians now. We have 84 employees operating out of two buildings. It is a full-time job and then some to manage the practice. I am committed to providing the highest quality care and the best patient experience to my community. This means I must continually teach and reinforce what has helped me succeed all these years. As a solo practitioner, I could provide excellent care to a few thousand patients. By training and supporting all of these clinicians, we can provide that same level of excellence to tens of thousands. I believe deeply that it is my duty to propel primary care forward beyond my personal capacity (or lifespan). It is physically, emotionally, and logistically impossible to maintain a full patient schedule and continually improve the quality of care my practice provides.

Lastly — and this one is hard — on May 11, Dr. Anthony “Tony” Coletta died suddenly while at the beach with his family. His incredible career and legacy are described in a beautiful article here by The Philadelphia Inquirer. For those who don’t know, Tony was a colleague, friend, and mentor to me for the last 20 years. Most recently, he and I were working on several consulting projects together. He encouraged me to use my experience in primary care and business to reach far outside of my own practice. We were making great strides toward improving healthcare delivery in our region and beyond. To say I am devastated by this loss is an understatement. I was fortunate to speak with him just a few days before he passed. He had just been fly fishing and was excited to spend more time in his RV, boating and fishing. We were supposed to meet for lunch next week.

Anthony "Tony" Coletta
Dr. Anthony "Tony" Coletta

I have been reflecting a lot on the many values Tony held dear. He lived and breathed them as a general surgeon, insurance executive, and value-based care thought leader.

He was always kind, patient, and generous. I never paid for a meal, a drink, or a coffee. That makes me smile. He spent years bringing inaccessible surgery to the people of Haiti. But most of all, he was true to himself.

One of the last things we talked about was Tony’s recent shift in life goals. Despite officially retiring, Tony always seemed to be working, thinking, and innovating. But he really wanted to do less of that and more of what he loved, especially spending time with his family, grandkids, and dogs. And again, my heart is full, and the tears are flowing.

I have spent the last year struggling to balance patient, practice, consulting, family, and “me” time. Tony’s untimely passing showed me the power of prioritizing yourself — even as a physician — as a lifelong caregiver. It is possible to do that.

My patient hours are indeed more limited than they have ever been. I am so sorry for those who are frustrated by this. I know your frustration comes from a place of love and genuine trust.

For those of you who have found your way to my care team and have sent notes of thanks and encouragement, thank you. Thank you for trusting the team I have spent the last two decades building so carefully. Thank you for being flexible and understanding. Most of all, thank you for actually “seeing me.” Not just as your trusted physician, but as a person.

Practically speaking, the best way to get on my schedule is to schedule your appointments as far in advance as possible. My calendar is now available for scheduling through 2025. Simply call or text the office to speak with our schedulers and make your appointment now.

Finally, although I won’t be present in the examining rooms this summer, I will be in and out of the practice doing all the “managing” things. Please reach out if I can do anything to ensure that you get the care you have grown accustomed to and deserve.

Thank you for your trust, kindness, and support. Wishing you a wonderful summer!



Commenting has been turned off.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page