If you are on Medicare, forget about checking for skin cancer on The Cape
So much for the Cape Cod's acclaimed medical services
By Walter Brooks
I moved to Cape Cod in 1965 when the county population was under 100,000, less than half of today's 227,000.
I didn't have a problem finding a dermatologist locally back then.
And decades later when Dr. Brinkerhoff retired, I found a replacement within two miles of my home at the Fontaine Medical Center at Exit 11 in East Harwich.
That doctor stopped coming to the Cape a couple days a week recently.
Today there is not a single dermatologist on Cape Cod who will accept Medicare patients.
In fact, there is only one dermatologist in Barnstable County who accepts any new patients, but not if they are on Medicare.
Plymouth to the rescue
I have had suspected skin cancer removed from my face a couple times, as have countless Baby-Boomers who once slathered their faces with banana oil and laid in the sun for hours before the medical profession warned us about that foolishness.
I finally found a dermatologist who accepts Medicare patients, but it's a 90-mile round trip for me to Plymouth. Doctor Emily Tierney at the South Shore Skin Center and Spa is one of Massachusetts' most progressive Dermatology practices. She is a professor at Tufts and teaches residents in dermatology. Her pratice is across from the mall at Exit 6 at One Scobee Circle, Plymouth.
Dr. Tierney says she could not in good conscience turn away any person who needed medical help.
I live at the Cape's elbow. Patients on the Lower Cape must now travel over 150 miles round-trip to that same doctor.
Imagine your aged mother or aunt making that kind of trip for basic health care.
Otherwise any sensible person on Medicare who cares about their health must be prepared to pay cash for this 10-minute examination.
This criticism is specific to Dermatologists. I have had a world-class Internist for forty years who is not just a caring physician, he even helped start the Hospice system here decades ago. And I hope every doctor here and elsewhere makes a good living if they serve their patients as mine does, but the present availability for skin doctors here should be addressed immediately by Cape Health Care.
I heard Cape Cod Healthcare's new Cape Cod Healthcare.
I guess $300,000 a year isn't enough for these hypocrites
Part of the modern version on right of the oath physicians take states,
\I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
"I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm."
I guess they left out the part that says "Except I can't make a lot more money than Medicare gives me."
The average income for an American dermatologist is just under $300,000 a year.