Career Move: Locum tenens physician

Travel, extra income and flexible scheduling can attract physicians to locum tenens opportunities.

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Winter 2012

 


Name:
Avishai Meyer, M.D.
Title: General surgeon
Employer: LocumTenens.com
Education: Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel. Residency at University of Colorado, Denver and University of Nebraska, Omaha. Fellowship at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

What do you like best about being a locum tenens physician?
I’m a locum tenens physician on weekends currently in Pierre, S.D. I like the ability to interact with and provide medical care to a rural population in need. Also, it enables me to see what it’s like in the real world of a surgeon. As a fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, I am sheltered from the burden of blame, if you will. Working as a locum tenens physician gives me a taste for what it’s really like to be a doctor and incurring the entire responsibility of the care I am giving. That’s scary but welcome. It’s not just being carried by the attending. I’m doing it myself.


Is there anything you don’t like about it?
It’s sad to be away from my family. I happen to have a 6-week-old child, so not being around is a little upsetting. We also have a 2-and-a-half-year-old, so it’s difficult for my wife. I’m not there to help out. That would be the only complaint I have about it, but that’s my choice.

Why did you choose to practice locum tenens?
I’m making extra money, so I’ll be able to facilitate good things in the near future. Weighing the pros and cons, I thought it was definitely a pro. At this stage of the game, I can only give them weekends. I plan to do this weekend work for a long time.

It’s hard when you’re still in training. You don’t make much money, and you still have student loan debt and those kinds of things. One thing I do have is motivation and the ability to work.

Does the locum tenens company pay for your airfare and lodging while you are away from home?
Yes. My only out-of-pocket is for food and entertainment.

more »

 

Topics: , ,

0 Comments

Career Move: Concierge physician

Love the idea of greater accessability, stronger relationships and more time with patients?

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Fall 2011

 

Dirk Frater, M.D., practices concierge medicine in Dallas and Jordan Shlain, M.D., San Francisco.

 

NAME: DIRK FRATER, M.D.

TITLE: Physician
EMPLOYER: E. Barrow Medical Group, Dallas
EDUCATION: Graduate of Yale University. Attended medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Residency at Parkland Memorial, Dallas.
BACKGROUND: Practiced internal and emergency medicine prior to becoming a concierge physician in 2008.

What do you like best about being a concierge physician?
The main thing is that I get to practice medicine the way it used to be and how I envisioned it when I went into medicine. Just having enough time to communicate with folks and take care of problems in an in-depth way. To really be a patient’s quarterback.

Is there anything you don’t like about it?
No. You have to be willing to be available all the time. That shouldn’t be something that throws you off or makes you regret you’re doing it.

Why did you choose to become a concierge physician?
My day-to-day practice required I spend less time with each patient so I could see more patients each day to maintain my income. I finally drew the line in the sand and said I wasn’t going to see any additional patients. It was a combination of having to do what was required to keep up with costs and how that was affecting how I was able to practice medicine.

Do you have any advice for physicians who are interested in the concierge model?
They should be encouraged. There’s more and more opportunity that’s going to be created for smart young doctors who want to work hard and want to really be involved in their patients’ care.

In your experience, do you think a physician new to the profession could begin as a concierge physician?
You have to build up a practice—have a track record, if you will—for patients to be willing to make that kind of move to a concierge practice.

Do you have a hybrid concierge practice?
I’m strictly on a retainer model. My concern with the hybrid model is treating patients differently than others. I want to treat everyone the same.

Was there anything that surprised you?
Mostly just how respectful patients were of my time. There’s still some folks who had a problem and then didn’t call. Part of the reason for me doing this was for them to be able to get ahold of me whenever they need me.

How would a physician get started on the path to becoming a concierge physician?
Speak to physicians who are doing it. There is a course offered by NPI, National Procedures Institute, which is an effective introduction to the topic. I think the key for most concierge physicians is that they really want to practice medicine the old-fashioned way where you are the patient’s main source of information, advice, referral and recommendation for problems large and small. If a physician really wants that kind of involvement, then they should aspire toward this type of practice because that’s what they’ll be able to do.

 

———-

NAME: JORDAN SHLAIN, M.D.

TITLE: Physician
EMPLOYER: Current Health, San Francisco
Education: Graduate of University of California, Berkeley. Attended medical school at Georgetown University.
BACKGROUND: President, American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP); Northern California medical director for Lufthansa Airlines.

What do you like best about being a concierge physician?
I have the time and ability to think through a lot of the nuances that is medicine. For example, two people can have diabetes, but their circumstances can be wildly different. I have the time and ability to really get involved. It’s not that I think I’m a better doctor, I just have the luxury of more time. Furthermore, I have the lifestyle that gives me more time off for myself. I get to enjoy my life.

Is there anything you don’t like about it?
No, nothing.

What if a patient needs you on a holiday? Would that be a downside?
Not really. The beautiful thing is the Internet, text messages and the phone—there’s a lot of methods of communication. Part of the promise I make to my patients is that they can always get in touch with me, 365 days of the year. I have partners. If I’m not working that day, my partners are. They still have the ability to contact me if they want. Like any doctor, there are no holidays. You’re always on call, so it’s no big deal.

You became a concierge physician early in your career. Is that unusual?
Totally unusual. As president of the association (AAPP), we give conferences. There’s usually 50 to 100 physicians in their 50’s wondering if they should switch models and go into this. I tell them that as soon as patients buy into a practice, they have the loyalty to the doctor. That’s an asset you can sell someday when you decide to retire or you decide to sell your practice.

So, you don’t have to be an older, established physician to go into concierge medicine?
No, but you have to have the ability to ride it out for a few years. You might only make half of what you’d make in routine primary care initially, but you might triple that amount once you get established. Never take your eyes off the prize. Always deliver on your promise, which is that you’ll be good, available and incredibly helpful. People will pay for value all day long. Health care is no different. Doctors are just small businesses.

What about new physicians who would like to do this?
It’s really hard. You need to have some patients. You need to find a private doctor who’s growing, and join that guy. Make sure you have a good contract and you’re part owner. That could take awhile because you have to build a practice. Once you become established, then you start talking to your patients and put out a survey to see if they would join at $1,000 a year, for example.

Was there anything that surprised you about your practice?
How appreciative my patients were. How much they loved it, and how much they disliked the other model.

What advice would you give physicians who would like to become a concierge physician?
It’s your future. You should invest in yourself. No one is going to look out for you like you are going to look out for you. If you want to be independent and want to have some control of your destiny, this is how you do it. If you want to learn more about it, American Academy of Private Physicians (aapp.org) is a great resource.
Also, don’t skimp on your website. Aesthetics are important.
…Once you do this, it’s so liberating. You can’t believe you ever did it another way.

 

Topics: , , , ,

0 Comments

Hospitalist

Long hours and flexible scheduling mark a hospitalist’s career

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Summer 2011

 

NAME: Clay Schneiter, M.D.Hospitalist, Clay Schneiter, MD

TITLE: Physician

EMPLOYER: Sound Physicians

What do you like best about being a hospitalist?

My schedule. As hospitalists, we work shifts. At the end of the day, we turn our pagers off and we’re done. At my former hospitalist job, I worked seven days on and seven days off, so that was a nice schedule. In my current position, I’m required to work 15 shifts a month. It leaves you with 15 to 16 days off a month. You also have the option of working as much as you want to. For example, you can work 20 to 22 shifts a month. I can work more to make more. However, it’s nice to only be required to work 15 to 16 days so I can see more of my family. The shifts are scheduled for 12 hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

I like the ability to practice inpatient medicine as opposed to outpatient clinic practice. I prefer the flow…higher intensity of more ill patients versus clinic patients. I have a good group of people to work with. I practice with about 24 physicians. Eight or nine of us are on during the day. We get along well—it’s a congenial atmosphere. Everyone looks out for one another versus everyone being in for themselves trying to one out somebody for more patients, more money.

What don’t you like about being a hospitalist?

The days can be long. The 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift is probably a longer day than for somebody who has their own outpatient practice. For a hospitalist, it’s a 12-hour day opposed to an 8-hour day. With this day-to-day kind of work, I probably see my children less than somebody who goes in a little later. They may have breakfast with their kids and maybe see them a few hours before they put them to bed. Some days, I don’t see my kids at all. I’m gone before they’re up and I’m home after they’ve gone to bed. We have to cover the nights, so that’s a little rough. You can find yourself at 35, 40, 45 years of age and still covering the night shift.

Of those 15 shifts I work a month, three have to be night shifts. Although, nights pay a little better. You’re seeing more patients, you’re probably billing more.

Why did you choose this job?

Originally, schedule. Getting out of residency, I liked the seven on, seven off schedule. I also liked inpatient versus outpatient. For me, it was less boring for lack of a better word.

Do you have any advice you’d give to other physicians who are considering becoming hospitalists?

For hospitalists, it’s a pretty wide-open field in the job market. There are opportunities almost everywhere. So you need to make sure you’re happy in the city or the part of the country you’re in. Hospital work is hospital work across the board. The last place I worked was in a part of the country we weren’t really happy with. I liked the job very much but didn’t like that part of the country. That’s why we moved to Denver, which is more suitable for our family lifestyle. So that would be my advice: Make sure you are happy and your family is happy in the place you’re living.

Was there anything that surprised you about being a hospitalist?

I don’t know if “surprised” is the right word. It can be frustrating to see a patient continuously come back to your emergency room due to bad lifestyle choices after you’ve counseled them extensively and helped them out with the hospital’s resources to get them on track to making the right choices. The taxpayer is responsible for every unfunded, uninsured patient regardless of their lifestyle choices.

The other thing physicians who are getting into this field should realize is that your workload gets harder as years go by. I think there’s a misconception that when you get out of residency, it’s going to be easier. It’s really the opposite. Life gets a little more intense when you’re out of training rather than when you’re in training. The buck stops with you ultimately as opposed to when you’re in training and there’s always somebody to co-sign your order.

How would a physician go about finding a job such as yours?

I’d start with the geographical area you’d be happy in then start the search there. Target where you think you’re going to be happy mentally and emotionally first, and then try to find the job based on that. Others may say to go for the most accredited or widely recognized hospital wherever it is. Maybe you want to work, for example, at Johns Hopkins. Just make sure you’re happy at home first.

Do you have any objective tips on how to land a hospitalist job?

I always use this adage: A good doctor is a good doctor. They’ll find work anywhere regardless of training, background, gender or ethnicity. A good doctor will be well received. Interviews for hospitalists don’t tend to be real intense. I think it’s a buyer’s market for the physician because of shortages. Be yourself, be honest, and if you’re ready to work, there’s a place for you. Stay in the game. Medicine is always changing.

Are you looking for hospitalist jobs? Check out what’s available on PracticeLink.com—it’s FREE to search! www.practicelink.com/jobs/Physician/Hospitalist/

 

Topics: , , ,

0 Comments

Cruise ship physician

A prime cabin, 24/7 food, diversity and the cruising life await

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Spring 2011

 

NAME: Adriana Yates, M.D.
TITLE: Senior physician
EMPLOYER: Carnival Cruise Lines

Adriana Yates, M.D.

Adriana Yates, M.D.

What do you like best about being a cruise ship physician?
A lot of things. The ship is amazing! As a doctor, you are a senior officer, so you have the best quality of life on board. You have one of the best cabins with a steward to clean your cabin and wash your clothes every day. You have food available 24 hours a day. You are provided with uniforms and have the opportunity to meet people from more than 60 different countries. You can go to different lunches and dinners that are available for guests and crew. You can go to the lounges, shows, work out at the gym or get off at the ports of call. You also have 24-hour Internet access.

What don’t you like about being a cruise ship physician?
The only thing I don’t like is being away from my husband, family and friends for a couple of months. The good thing is that my husband can come with me, but not for long periods of time. more »

 

Topics: , , ,

0 Comments

 

Return to Top

Page 4 of 41234