PPP’s Rebekah Bernard, MD, is featured in Medical Economics.

“So, you want to be a doctor?” my pre-med preceptor asked, cocking an eyebrow. “My advice, kid? Don’t do it. Go to business school instead. Anything else.” But I was eighteen, and like most teenagers, I knew better. “He’s just jaded,” I thought. “It won’t be like that for me.”

Thirty years and a global pandemic later, I find myself reflecting more than ever on that conversation. I feel privileged to be a physician, and I love my relationships with my patients (most of the time), but the daily aggravations often feel like ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ And even though I’ve escaped much of the reimbursement rat race by converting to direct primary care, I still find myself frustrated daily by nonsensical demands like prior authorizations for generic medications and prolonged peer-to-peer phone calls to get necessary tests approved.