I was diagnosed in June 2011 with Stage 2 Invasive ductal carcinoma in the right breast, and In-situ ductal carcinoma in the left breast In August 2011 I had a Lumpectomy in both breasts, followed by 5 days of targeted radiation in the right breast; 2 treatments a day. No chemo was needed as tests showed I had a low chance of reccurrence if I took an estrogen blocker, which I continue to do. I received all my care from well respected doctors, surgical center, and hospital located 6 miles from my home.
In 2012, I was notified that the community oncology practice my oncologist was a member of (GA Cancer Specialists) was moving, and the practice had become “associated with” a hospital located in a highly congested traffic area 30 miles from my home. I did not want to drive 30 miles for care, and I also knew that if I ever needed transportation for care, my friends would not be able to help. (I am single, and my friends are older individuals who only drive locally.) So, I left that practice and asked my breast surgeon to refer me to an oncologist in NW GA Oncology, a community practice, where I have been very happy. I transferred practices because I did not want to have to travel 30 miles for care. However, I later learned that it would have also cost me more money to continue going to the previous practice which had became associated with the hospital. Visits to a hospital-based practice are considered out-patient hospital visits, rather than a doctor’s office visit, and patients are billed for such. My insurance deductibles and copays were higher for hospital visits than for doctor visits, so I would have had to pay more out-of-pocket, had I not changed practices. And since my new physician is not bound by hospital polices, she is able to be more flexible and make sure my treatment plan is personalized for me. And since she is is not bound by patient quotas, which many hospital-based physicians are, she is able to spend as much time with me as I need. I never feel that I rushed through. I have as much time as I need with my physician. I much prefer to stay with a community practice, rather than a hospital-based.