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Kentucky doctor quitting practice, cites Obamacare as the reason

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Dr. Stephen Kiteck, a 64-year-old board-certified family physician with a good record for patient satisfaction, announced he would be closing his practice in Somerset, Ky., on Dec. 31, Breitbart.com reported Tuesday. The reason, he said in a newspaper ad, is Obamacare.

Kiteck thanked his patients and advised them to come by his office prior to Dec. 31 to pick up their charts.

"Dr. Kiteck wishes to thank all his patients that have visited his office over the past 20 years, and apologizes for this inconvenience," the ad says in closing.

Breitbart's John Sexton said the doctor's office confirmed the news, and a receptionist said he was unprepared to issue a statement to the media at this time.

In an update, Sexton said Buzzfeed contacted Dr. Kiteck, and reported the reason for the closure was the requirement to use electronic health records.

"That requirement was not part of Obamacare but was included in the stimulus act," Sexton added.

Physicians must move to electronic records by 2015, meaning a working system must be in place by mid-2014.

Those who fail to meet the deadline are charged a fine of one percent, which is deducted from their reimbursements, Sexton said, citing a report at Fox News.

Privacy advocates are also concerned about the security of information in those records, Fox added.

"The thing I worry about is not that we are doing it, but that we're doing it without the right safeguards," Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Fox. "We have been giving (medical providers) incentives to move into the electronic-health-records era. But we haven't been giving them enough guidance on how they're supposed to do it."

Surveys suggest that Dr. Kiteck will be joined by a number of medical professionals who will quit medicine as a result of Obamacare.

"Six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years," said the 2013 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians, which surveyed over 600 doctors.

According to the survey, most physicians believe the "future of the medical profession may be in jeopardy as it loses clinical autonomy and compensation" and "Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements may be problematic, prompting many physicians to limit or close their practices to these enrollees."

These concerns -- and many others -- were expressed to Examiner.com by Dr. John Vigil, a New Mexico-based doctor who started a Facebook event encouraging Americans to disobey Obamacare enrollment rules.

"What will happen is that the insurance companies with the expanded enrollees will adopt the medicare/medicaid fee reimbursement model and will force docs out of private practice," Vigil said. Worse yet, Vigil said, the pay structure is so rigid it does not give doctors any flexibility whatsoever.

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