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Longtime La Porte Family Practice Closing

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

For four and half decades Dr. Joe Mock has delivered health care to the folks of La Porte.

"He's been the only one for me for many, many years. If he tells me its good, its good," said patient Jimmie Lynn Spanks as she left the office.

But in a few weeks Joe Mock is walking away from a healing profession he's practiced with persistent passion. To understand why, you need to meet his wife and business manager.

"We get paid less and less and there's more and more reason for them to deny charges," said Patricia Mock, who has worked beside her husband since the 70's.

She's talking mostly about Medicare which hasn't substantially raised the compensation it pays doctors in 13 years.

That stinginess combined with a regulatory burden Mock calls "crushing" has made it near impossible for her sole practitioner spouse to make ends meet.

Patricia remembers clearly when they decided to close the doors.

"When my blood pressure went to 200 over 100, that was it," said Patricia with a smile

.

Outside in the waiting room sat 86-year old Robert Sharp. He says word of more and more doctors dropping Medicare is creating anxiety among seniors.

 

"A lot of doctors they are going to get away from Medicare because its too much paper work, too many restrictions placed on them under these new laws. A lot of them are just packing it up and saying to heck with it!," said Sharp.

The sheer number of physicians bailing out appears particularly acute in Texas. Research indicates 4 in 10 here are refusing new Medicare patients.

Sharp, who served in combat during World War II, blames the government, not the doctors.

"Many people my age bracket are no longer here because we fought for this country and I don't want to see the nation go down hill," said Sharp, his voice choked with emotion.

The Mocks believe most of their Medicare patients have or will find new primary care doctors, but they also believe many more family practices will call it quits unless conditions for physicians improve.

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