Dr. Bourne Closing Her Practice

Dr Bourne Closing her Practice

On Tuesday, September 25, 2007 Dr. Bourne's four thousand patients received the following letter announcing the closure of her practice and the West Marin Medical Center at the end of this year.


West Marin Medical Center
11150 Highway One

Point Reyes
, California 94956

 September 15, 2007

 Dear Patients,

For the past eight years, I have enjoyed getting to know all of you and being a small part of your lives.  When I first joined Dr. Michael Whitt, I planned to practice medicine in West Marin for the next thirty years.  I hoped to watch your children grow up, be there for your major milestones, and follow some of you through your final illnesses and deaths.  Unfortunately, because neither good medicine nor small businesses are rewarded by our current health care system, I cannot keep my business afloat financially and maintain personal integrity.  Particularly over the past few years, instead of honing my medical skills, I have wrestled with insurance companies, waded through the pharmaceutical industry’s suspicious tactics, and balanced medical decisions with the threat of possible legal action, all the while teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.  Like all doctors in our country, I am given the choice of working for an HMO or taking cash or a retainer for my services.  While I do not blame doctors who make either choice, neither is an appealing option to me.

As of January 1st, 2008 I will leave the West Marin Medical Center to pursue interests outside of primary care medicine.  I have worked for over a year trying to find my replacement, but have met a dead end due to the high cost of living in Marin County and the low reimbursement for primary care medical services.  If I do not find a replacement by the first of the year, my office will close.  We care for over four thousand patients in our office and I feel strongly that we should have local medical care for them.  If you would like to help find a physician and keep my office open after I leave, I have some ideas.  Please call 415.663.9174 and leave a message with your name and number.  We will get back to you as soon as possible.  In the interim, please do not overwhelm my office phone or front desk with questions about the future of the West Marin Medical Center or approach my staff outside the office.  Instead, use the number above for questions, updates and your suggestions. 

In the event the West Marin Medical Center closes, I have attached a list of doctors in Marin and Sonoma Counties who are still taking new patients.  If you have an HMO insurance, you may also receive a letter from your insurance company regarding your options.  If at all possible, please hold off from immediately switching to new doctors “over the hill” as I hope our community can prevent my office from closing.  I will provide updates in the local papers as things develop.

Either way, I am clear on my decision to leave and, at the same time, devastated to say goodbye.  It has been a privilege to help you with your medical care.  I also feel blessed to have worked with Dr. and Mrs. Whitt, Cheryl Higgins, Janice Kehoe, Kathy Tyson, Yesenia Padilla, Georgia Gilardi, Irlanda Orozco, Cynthia Hammond, and all our previous staff.  Thank you for all you have done for me in these past eight years.  It was a chapter in my life I will always carry with me. I look forward to better things for all of us in our lives and in our health.

Molly Bourne, M.D.

 If the West Marin Medical Center closes, the following practices are open for non-Kaiser members:

James Leoni, M.D.                    Family Medicine           Petaluma          707.781.6926

Joseph Habis, M.D.                   Internal Medicine          San Rafael        415.492.3333

Rajina Ranadive, M.D.              Internal Medicine          Petaluma          707.763.0802

Nikola Lozanov, M.D.               Family Medicine            Petaluma          707.763.0802

Point Reyes Clinic                     Primary Care                Point Reyes      415.663.8666

Stinson Beach Clinic                  Primary Care                Stinson Beach   415.868.9656

Bolinas Family Practice             Primary Care                Bolinas             415.868.0124

Keep in mind that while these practices are currently open to new patients, they may not take your insurance.  In addition, you may contact your insurance company for a list of participating providers. 

If you have Kaiser insurance and have designated Dr. Bourne, Dr. Whitt or Cheryl Higgins as your primary care provider, you will receive a letter from Kaiser about how to get reassigned to a new provider.  If you have not designated us, but you get your primary care here, you may call the main Kaiser number (415.444.2000) and have the operator forward you to Patient Relations.


A follow-up letter from Dr Bourne

October 30, 2007

Dear Patients:

 In the weeks following my letter in September, I met with many people, hoping to come up with a viable model to keep my office open after I leave. I consulted financial, tax, business and legal professionals. I met with representatives from the Coastal Health Alliance. I heard from many members of the community. I read all your letters. Unfortunately, every scenario I entertained was met with insurmountable barriers, some expected, others never before imagined.

For this reason, I surrender and plan to close my office January 1st, 2008 as planned. This leaves me with an office to rent and patients who need a medical home. I am more than willing to hand over the torch to anyone in the community who would like to rent my office and run a medical business. Still, having spent many hours trying to devise a reasonable plan, I do not think it wise for us to count on any such person. Therefore, I encourage all of you to find doctors either at the Coastal Health Alliance or “over the hill,” as per my original letter (September 2007).

If I return to Point Reyes to practice medicine, it will likely be in the form of a small retainer practice or as a medical consultant to patients who already have primary care doctors. I will not take insurance. If you are interested in these models and would like to be contacted in the event that I return to West Marin, please send an email to this effect with your contact information.

Molly Bourne

Dr. Bourne's Farewell Letter

November 27, 2007

Open House…Please Come
While I have been loud about how badly the current health care system has hurt my business, I have not been loud enough about how hard my staff has worked to keep it afloat (financially and emotionally) for all the years I’ve been here. I would love it if you all would come celebrate with us on December 19th, 4-6pm at the office. Light fare and drinks provided.

Dr. Whitt
While I plan to move on after January 1st, Dr. Whitt plans to continue seeing his patients in my office. For now, he tells us he plans to take all insurances. He will be keeping many of the current staff.

Your Charts
After the New Year, your charts will remain at the West Marin Medical Center in possession of Dr. Michael Whitt. While it is illegal to take your chart, you may request copies to be sent to your new doctor. Kaiser patients will have all their records at Kaiser Permanente and should ask their medical records department to forward copies as needed. You may be asked to pay a fee for records.

My New Job
As of February 2008, I will be one of the Medical Directors at Hospice by the Bay, a large non-profit that provides end of life care in San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma counties. My role as one of the medical directors will include hospital work, home visits, managing an interdisciplinary team specializing in end-of-life issues, as well as some administrative and educational services for the organization. I will continue on as Medical Director at Serenity Knolls, the in-patient alcohol and chemical dependency facility in Forest Knolls. Finally, I plan to write a book to help patients navigate our “broken” health care system. While I am very sad to go, these are things that I very much look forward to.

Town Meeting
On December 6th, from 7-9pm, there will be a town meeting to discuss the future of health care in West Marin at the Dance Palace.

Keep Checking the Website
As time goes on, this site will continue to provide updates and information. Please make a note to check it from time to time. As I face the New Year wondering when and if I will see all of you again, I promise myself that perhaps through this website, we will stay in touch. Thank you for your continued interest and support.