To William Hedrick, MD, 61 years of serving as a family physician takes a back seat only to 61 years of friendship. As the longtime Raleigh physician often says, he’s not so much a doctor as he is your friend who happens to be a doctor.
“I’ve been blessed,” said Dr. Hedrick, 90, who opened his practice in July 1962 and has been seeing patients continuously ever since. “I’ve looked after patients for a long time. The practice of medicine has changed so much, but I’ve always felt like the role of the family physician is most important.”
Dr. Hedrick is retiring as one of North Carolina’s longest-tenured family physicians. To ensure continuity of care for his patients, Dr. Hedrick is entrusting Avance Care in Midtown Raleigh. While his patients are free to choose any doctor or practice, he’s meeting with patients several times a week during a transition period and introducing them to the Avance Care Midtown team, led by Daniel Gill, MD.
“It is very important to me that my patients continue to get the same level of care I have provided. I looked around for a practice that I felt comfortable with and found Dr. Gill at Avance Care. Some of my patients have already had appointments and it seems like a good fit,” Dr. Hedrick said.
The longtime Raleigh physician chose Avance Care because of its commitment to patient care and satisfaction, North Carolina roots and mission of helping independently owned physician practices maintain their independence.
Those qualities in family medicine haven’t changed much in the six decades since Dr. Hedrick opened his practice when Raleigh was considered a small, genteel Southern city, home to 93,931 residents. What has changed significantly is the explosive growth of Raleigh – population 476,587, according to the 2022 Census Bureau estimate – as well as too many advances in medical care to count.
Among those changes is the declining proportion of physician practices that are owned by the doctors who practice there. Between 2010 and 2018 the number of independently owned practices in North Carolina decreased 22% as more than 2,000 independent practices closed or were acquired by health systems or corporate entities, according to a 2019 report by the North Carolina Medical Society. Dr. Hedrick bucked that trend, maintaining ownership of his practice and choosing in retirement not to sell the practice to a large health system.
“Dr. Hedrick stands for what really matters in healthcare – doing what’s right for the patient,” said Dr. Gill. “He has embodied this approach for six decades and over 150,000 patient visits. We’re delighted he chose to work with Avance Care for continuing this legacy of caring for Wake County families.”
Dr. Hedrick informed his panel of patients of his intentions in early June and saw his last patients in his own practice on June 12. Over the coming months he will transition fully to retirement, spending time with his wife, Merrie Hedrick, and seven children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, as well as with the chickens, garden and fish pond on his Wake County farm.
About Avance Care
Avance Care is an innovative primary care provider that has been offering convenient, cost-effective healthcare services since 2008. Avance Care operates a system of independent practices across North Carolina and utilizes a proprietary operating platform comprised of sophisticated information technology systems and highly developed workflow processes and procedures to generate industry-leading patient satisfaction ratings, quality of care, and efficiency. More information is available at avancecare.com.
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