"We were managing to break even financially until Hurricane Sandy hit, followed by a significant snowstorm. Patients, unable to leave their homes, had to cancel their appointments, and we saw almost no one during a two-week period. The loss of revenue, approximately $36,000, was devastating, and the office has been unable to recover financially.... In a nutshell, I am experiencing a financial crisis, and I will be forced to close my practice unless I am able to raise $40,000 within the next few days."
From Dr. J who treats kids:
January 28, 2013
First, I want to thank each and every one of you who responded to my last update by donating to my legal defense fund. Your generous response helped to reduce the outstanding balance, preserving my legal representation. The hearing before the Connecticut Supreme Court is expected to take place early this year. That proceeding is not able to accommodate a large audience, but I promise to keep you posted on the outcome!
Unfortunately, a very serious financial crisis is hitting my office which I must bring to your attention. As you know, my office has been under an enormous amount of stress for many years, due to the charges brought against me by the Connecticut Medical Examining Board (CMEB). In addition to huge legal fees and fines, the imposition of four years of monthly monitoring has posed an enormous burden, financial and otherwise. The monitor had to be hired through an agency, and his fees have been astronomical, averaging $4,000 per month.
This would be bad enough, but it also takes a great number of clerical hours to prepare each patient chart according to the specific and detailed format that he requires. This must be done by an experienced staff member, familiar with my practice. Due to the demands of the practice itself, she often has to do this after hours, resulting in overtime costs of about $2,000 per month.
When I first learned of the monitoring requirement, which was unusually stringent in terms of both its frequency and duration, I feared that it could drive me into bankruptcy. As a result, I have had to make some difficult modifications, to reduce our operating costs and keep the office open. For example, we have reduced our staffing from 5 to 3 medical assistants, very challenging for all of us, given the high demands posed by our very ill pediatric patients. I work 6 days a week seeing patients. I had hoped to train another pediatrician by now who would assist at my office and become my successor, but this has not been feasible, due to the adversarial climate surrounding my practice.
My attorney has petitioned the CMEB on at least one occasion, requesting that they reduce the monitoring requirement. The monitoring agency supported this request because the monitor has found no problems with my practice, but the CMEB denied it. Some of my colleagues have set up a fund to try to help with these costs, for which I am very grateful, but this has not been sufficient.
Despite these challenges, we were managing to break even financially until Hurricane Sandy hit, followed by a significant snowstorm. Patients, unable to leave their homes, had to cancel their appointments, and we saw almost no one during a two-week period. The loss of revenue, approximately $36,000, was devastating, and the office has been unable to recover financially. We have had to pay the monitor throughout this difficult period, in order to avoid my being held in contempt by the CMEB. As a result, I have fallen seriously behind in paying rent, salaries, utilities and more. I have been told by my building manager that if payment is not forthcoming by February 1, the corporation which owns my building will begin eviction proceedings.
In a nutshell, I am experiencing a financial crisis, and I will be forced to close my practice unless I am able to raise $40,000 within the next few days. It pains me deeply that a great number of patients and their families could be left without adequate care, and once again to have to turn to you for assistance. Any sum will be appreciated, but it must arrive at once! I will do my best to keep you apprised of the situation, including the point at which our goal is reached. At present, I regret that we do not have a Paypal option, but I will let you know if that changes. Please make your checks out to me and send them to the following address:
Charles Ray Jones, M.D.
111 Park Street, 1st Floor
New Haven, CT 06511
(please write ``gift'' in the memo field)
I want to assure you that my practice continues to be busy and I am seeing new patients, often on a daily basis. I was deeply touched by a recent letter from an adolescent patient, who had just returned to school after years of illness. She wrote: ``Thank you, Dr. Jones, for healing me.'' I cherish as always the opportunity to treat so many children with tick-borne diseases and to witness their return to health.
I am encouraged too by the fact that the monitoring requirement, burdensome as it is, is now more than halfway completed. That is a light at the end of the tunnel, and will make a tremendous difference in the longer-term financial stability of my office. To achieve this however, we need to overcome the immediate crisis!
Thank you for your attention and support. If we are successful in meeting the current financial challenge, I pledge to continue to do all that I can for our children with tick-borne diseases!