LYNN, Mass. — Dr. Michael Schrenko will retire at the end of the month after practicing medicine for nearly four decades in Lynn.
For 38 of his 42 years as a general practitioner, the Pennsylvania native has operated a solo private practice on Ocean Street, serving generations of families. The 1920s building has a history of housing family practices that dates back much longer than his tenure. It has been home to a private practice for about 70 years, Schrenko said.
“It’s the end of an era, in a way,” he said. “Less and less doctors are going into a private practice. The amount of private practice doctors is now less than the amount of employed doctors.”
Schrenko sold the building in October 2016 for $539,900 last year to Battling Bard Realty LLC of Medford, according to Patriot Properties. He has leased the office for the past year, but the new owner plans to convert the office into apartments, he said.
The 69-year-old is an osteopathic doctor who follows the philosophy of seeing the patient as a whole person to reach a diagnosis, rather than treating the symptoms alone. He studied at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Over the decades, Schrenko said he has seen the business change in many ways. He remembers the first time a GE Aviation employee handed him an insurance card, which changed the way doctors billed patients. He feels the implementation of electronic medical records has caused distraction from doctor and patient interaction.
In the past 10 to 15 years, he said he has developed a special interest in treating chronic pain. The opioid epidemic has made treatment more difficult and many doctors turn patients away, not wanting to contribute to the problem. Schrenko said he recognizes that patients with chronic pain need help, but it often involves more of an overarching treatment plan.
With so many people affected by pain, he said there should be more research dollars directed toward a solution.
Schrenko plans to spend more time traveling, reading, and painting during his retirement. Painting is a hobby he discovered late in life, he said. He enjoys painting people, rather than landscapes. His office is adorned with many of his masterpieces, including a piece depicting angels welcoming someone into heaven, created with acrylic and oil paint.
“I will miss having contact with my patients as well as colleagues,” said Schrenko. “Patients have become more than patients — they’re more like family.”
Information from: The (Lynn, Mass.) Daily Item, http://itemlive.com