Workplace Clinics

With a focus on prevention, this physician found his balance

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Fall 2012

 

NAME: William Bray, M.D.
TITLE: Family practice physician for WeCare TLC
EDUCATION/TRAINING:
Medical school: Indiana University
Residency: Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind.
As a workplace clinic physician, who specifically do you work for?
My employer is WeCare. They are a Florida-based company that specializes in employee-based clinics. There are others out there that do similar things. WeCare manages the on-site clinic for Subaru, which has a very large automobile production facility in Lafayette, Ind. Subaru employees and dependents are eligible to use the clinic.

What do you like best about being a workplace clinic physician?
I like the focus on prevention. I also like that it’s not necessarily a production-based environment. I like that I can spend more time with patients and I can focus on keeping them well. I have the resources and support to do that effectively.

Is there anything you don’t like about being at a workplace clinic?
So far, no. It’s a really nice blend of disease management and preventative care. Personally, it’s not as demanding on my time because it is more productive. I’m not dealing with insurance companies and collections. It’s an employer-funded operation, so instead of spending time with insurance companies, I’m spending the time with the patients.

Why did you choose to join a workplace clinic?
There are a number of reasons… such as a chance to get back into family medicine. I previously was in a practice that was occupational medicine and family practice. It soon became full-time occupational medicine. This was really a chance to be part of something where I see health care needs to go. That is, with the focus on prevention versus a system that’s motivated by illness, if you will.

Have you always been located in Indiana?
Yes, I have, except for the five years I was a flight surgeon for the United States Air Force. That was the only time I was out of Indiana. I was stationed in Florida and Germany at that time. I continue to serve as an Air Force Reservist. My employer has been supportive of that.

What’s your advice for physicians who are interested in joining a workplace clinic?
Stick with the things that make you happy in life and you enjoy doing. I’d take a long look, especially for younger physicians, at where health care is headed in our country and weigh that into the decision. There’s something to be said for being in a private practice, going into that model. Maybe the rewards are there for some people. I think this is a neat change and I’m looking forward to a future with it.

Was there anything that surprised you about your career choice?
I was surprised I finally accepted this model. It’s a unique and different way of delivering health care. I was a little surprised at myself after years of doing things a certain way that I came to accept that this could work.

How would a physician get started on the path to becoming a workplace clinic physician?
Do your research. Not only on the company that you are providing a service to but the company you will be actually working for. Be prepared to accept the different model and delivery of this health care. Think outside of the box.

Would a workplace clinic physician be a model a new physician could go into immediately out of residency?
Yes, in fact in a way, it is almost ideal because in residency, you get some training about the business of medicine but many times, it is limited. In this particular model, you can focus on patient care fresh out of the program, which is primarily what you did the whole time in residency. I think it would be an easy transition for a young resident coming out of the state residency programs to embrace. It’s a model that requires very little business savvy or business sense because you are not dealing with insurance companies, collections or worried over bad debts. It’s a completely patient-centered medical environment.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m very happy and pleasantly surprised with the opportunity and I think as with anything, this is a novel concept to a lot of people. Time will tell if this is the direction health care will go. I don’t know if the government will be able to solve our health care dilemmas and I don’t know if physicians as a whole are motivated to change. It might be the employers in the country that force the reform. I think when the employers push, that’s when things will happen because ultimately employers pick up a lot of the health care tab.

– By Marcia Travelstead

 

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