“I had hoped to go on a few more years,” says the 66-year-old, who owns Health and Healing at 9415 E. Harry.
“Everything about health care has become more and more complex,” Merrifield says.
Whether it’s the government, insurance companies or large employers, everyone seems to need more and more assurances that they’re getting what they need out of her office.
Merrifield says there’s “so much complicated paperwork and computer programming that doesn’t always work right.”
“It has taken more and more time away from my practice,” she says. “It’s just worn me out.”
Merrifield began practicing in 1978. In 2003, she started her own practice.
“I really wanted to be able to spend more time with patients, and that’s difficult when you have a high overhead to support,” she says.
Creating a more simplified solo practice “was a way to create a low-overhead practice so that (I) could spend more time with patients.”
Merrifield says she’s been able to do that, and she says she’ll now be able to do things she hasn’t had the opportunity to do in a 40-year career.
“I’m looking forward to various things I’ll be able to do,” she says. “On the other hand, I have so much sadness about leaving this continuous care practice of medicine I’ve been doing.”
That’s why she’s throwing not a party or a celebration but what Merrifield is calling a gathering to say goodbye to patients and others she’s worked with. It will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on June 29 at Botanica.
“I feel so appreciative to be able to do what I love for so many years and to be able to serve doing what I love,” Merrifield says. “There’s just so many people who have a job as a job.”
For her, she says, she’s had “a job that for me is a calling, and one where I feel fulfilled.”