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Key AIDS Doc Quits Over Costs

Key AIDS Doc Quits Over Costs


Marcus Conant, a pioneering HIV specialist, is leaving his private practice in San Francisco, among the largest of its kind in the world, because of spiraling health care costs and insurance industry challenges.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 73-year-old Conant moved to Manhattan last week. He will consult on challenging AIDS cases in the Bay Area from time to time.

"He has been a physician for nearly 50 years, but like many doctors, in the past decade he has become increasingly frustrated with insurance challenges that made running a private practice unnecessarily complicated and a financial nightmare, he said," the Chronicle reported. "He tried to run his practice part time, using his personal savings to keep the clinic open.

"'The bottom line is, you cannot make a living practicing medicine unless you work at least 50 to 60 hours a week,' he said. 'I'm not the only doctor who's getting to the point where it's not worth it.'"

Conant was working as a dermatologist at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center in 1981 when he identified some of the first cases of Kaposi's sarcoma, the skin disease that signaled the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

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