So, I lost my job. But I didn’t lose my dream. You see, I knew this wasn’t going to be a long term place for me unless my friend and colleague the doctor went in with some other people I know to buy the practice.
My first paycheck bounced – I had to wait until the next paycheck a month later to get what I was owed, and I still had to insist on a separate check to cover my credit union’s bounced check fee from his bad check.
Then I discovered the owner cheating us, the contracted providers, out of money two months in a row. When I confronted him about this he denied me access to the accounting section of the electronic health record program (EHR) we use – which is technically illegal to do to a contract employee working on a percentage. No big deal, when I told the doctor how he was being cheated he offered me his user ID and password which I did not take him up on, because the biller was happy to print out the information I needed.
The owner refused to sign a contract with me, and paid me 5% less than his original offer. To be cheated on top of it was an insult that could not go unchallenged. But he stopped returning calls, texts, and even coming to the office. October 29th was the last time he returned a text message.
So why would I stay there? Because it was my own community, it was NOT his. My dream was to work in my community. But working in this office was not the original dream. My dream was to own my own practice, to go to the people without transportation, the home bound people with major health problems. Working here was a stop gap, a way to try to save money to get to a place where, if we were the owners, me and the doc, I could incorporate it into our business; or, if we didn’t, I would start doing part time.
I had, in fact, already been doing home visits as part of my work week, and gaining business via the percentage he collected for the use of his EHR that he never would have had without me as a result. When I was let go so suddenly, those people were more than happy to stay with me.
The response in the community has been universal shock and outrage – and concern over what will happen to the doctor who remains. I’ve had patients calling me both to see how they can continue to keep me as their provider and irate that this happened to all of us. And more than a few to complain about the new staff’s treatment of them. One of my patients was given a drug screen – I would as soon suspect my cat of drug use as this person. Way to go there, way to alienate an entire family of 9 patients. Nice job.
Well, I had suspected something was up for a while. And in the first part of December, I decided to take action. So I began looking at available names for incorporating my own business. Come to find out, the legal name of the business, the name they received their billing under, was NOT the name they had been using before I was hired – and it was available. So I trade marked the name and incorporated my business under the name.
The day I was let go, I heard the new front desk person answering the phone with *my* business name, the one that hadn’t been in use since I was ‘contracted.’ I informed the new owner that he could not use that name. He, rather pompously said he could do whatever he wanted since he owns the business, and since he rather liked that name he planned to change the name to that. I responded, “That’s nice. But you can’t. Because I own it.” Stunned silence was his response, and the accountant for the former owner (who was there helping them) asked me how I did that. I said, “It was easy. I researched the name, it was available, so I bought it and incorporated under it.” Again, stunned silence.
Score one point for me. One small satisfaction in a morass of disappointment and disgust.
To be continued….