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Why can’t this retired Calif. doctor find a primary care physician in Boston?

Ljupco Smokovski - stock.adobe.c

My wife and I are recent retirees, transplants from Southern California. We moved from the scorched coastal hills and multiple fire evacuations to the greener pastures of the Boston metropolitan area. We’re closer now to two of our children and all of our grandchildren. We are happy to be here, with one glaring exception: the terrible health care access.

We attempted to establish a primary care relationship with an internist or similar physician. We requested nonurgent appointments about six months out. We reached out to several institutions and systems, from the major hospitals to independent physician groups, and every phone call (and there were plenty) was met with sympathy but no results.


We were offered an appointment with a nurse practitioner at one organization, a medical resident at another, and the soonest we’d be seen was months away. So I asked for an appointment in a year, with a physician. No way. We could not find a physician who was taking new patients.

Maybe none of this is startling to your readers.

Except I am a retired physician who ran an internal medicine practice for years and was chief of staff at one of the larger hospital systems in Southern California. I’ve reached out to physician contacts from the West Coast and medical school classmates from the East Coast school I attended. Most explained that Boston may be the most challenging area in the nation to find a board-certified primary care physician. The (many) physicians in this area who they reached out to wished us luck and said this is just business as usual here.

A few recommended I try getting an appointment at the concierge medical practice of one of the major hospitals, for a mere $8,000 a year.

I’m trying to avoid what might come off as whining, but if someone in my position can’t find a doctor, what do people in other walks of life do?


Dr. Gerald Svedlow