Magnuson to close his medical practice

For The Beachcomber

Dr. Chad Magnuson will close his medical practice on Vashon next month.

Magnuson, a well-liked physican who has practiced on Vashon for 15 years, announced in a letter to patients last week that his last day will be July 31.

In an interview with The Beachcomber, Magnuson said that the duties involved with owning a solo family practice have become overwhelming in recent years. Billing, working with insurance providers, participating in audits and keeping records to comply with state and federal regulations have taken up more and more of his time, leaving less time to meet with patients.

“I was spending more time than I wanted to spend, and really could spend, on non-medical things,” he said.

Magnuson was recently hired to join a clinic in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood that is owned by Swedish Medical Group. He will start there in September. The move is bittersweet, he said, as he is looking forward to spending more time with patients but will miss his Vashon practice and the approximately 600 patients he leaves behind.

“I’m very sad to be leaving my patients, and I feel very grateful for the trust they’ve placed in my care,” he said.

Magnuson began working on Vashon in 1999, when he joined Island Family Medicine, a clinic that was owned by Highline Medical Center. In 2001 that clinic merged with the health center. He left the health center in 2007 to set up his solo practice in town, but remained part of a call group with health center practitioners.

“That’s been very mutually advantageous and a group I’ve really enjoyed and very much trusted,” he said.

Magnuson said he has enjoyed the pace of his solo practice, as he spends more time with his patients and gets to know them better than he would at a larger clinic.

“That way of practice I’ve really liked. It’s a wonderful pace and wonderfully personal and direct care,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to practice that way.”

But paperwork, insurance work and other requirements grew more demanding over the years, he said, in part because of constantly changing government regulations related to health care, though not specifically the Affordable Care Act. He noted he believes the regulations are for the most part reasonable, but the work can become a burden for small family clinics, and there’s been a been a significant decline in such practices in recent years.

“It’s the preponderance of all these things one has to do in health care now that have made it a burden,” he said.

Magnuson has invited patients who are interested to follow him to his new office in Magnolia, but he expects that most will not because of the distance.

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