Lincoln slept here

Across the continent, some U.S. cities are proving they can keep faith with the fascinating past while they move into the roaring present - and the health care of the future.

By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | Spring 2012


What makes a place historic?

A hard-and-fast definition is elusive, but here are some likely possibilities. Maybe an important event took place there, such as the turning-point battle in Gettysburg, Pa. Or maybe it was the starting point of a significant expedition, such as the three-year Lewis and Clark Voyage of Exploration that departed from St. Charles, Mo. Perhaps it’s America’s oldest continuous state capital (Santa Fe, N.M.), or the seafaring tradition of Mystic, Conn.

These are four examples of cities whose residents take pride not only in maintaining their historic ambience, but also in working to move into the modern world.

With the exception of Mystic, which has a walk-in clinic, each supports at least one state-of-the-art health care facility with frequent employment opportunities for physicians. more »



Correctional medicine

Practicing in correctional facilities can offer a predictable schedule and the ability to care for patients long-term.

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Spring 2012


NAME: Patrick Arnold, M.D.
TITLE: Regional Medical Director
EMPLOYER: Corizon, Albuquerque, N.M.
EDUCATION: Attended medical school at Alabama School of Medicine; post-graduate education at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center in Internal Medicine.

What do you like best about being a correctional medicine physician?
I’ve been able to address common and uncommon medical conditions in a captive population. That affords me the opportunity to follow patients long-term. I like the support that I get from my colleagues and superiors…the opportunity to practice in what I think is an interesting field.

Is there anything you don’t like about it?
No, but I think for an individual on the outside looking in, the possible experience of practicing within a correctional environment could be somewhat daunting. For me, when I initially entered correctional medicine in 2004, I was somewhat apprehensive. I entered a correctional facility, and the doors were securely closed behind me. I was oriented to the clinical area; it was just like practicing ambulatory medicine in any routine outpatient clinic.

Why did you choose to practice correctional medicine?
I worked in a community-based clinic in rural Mississippi and was looking for a change from that environment. A recruiter contacted me about working in one of the correctional centers. I interviewed as a temporary replacement to earn extra income and ended up working in that facility from 2004 to 2006.

Today, I’m the regional medical director at a New Mexico contract for Corizon, but I do have some clinical duties to perform patient care.

I think correctional medicine is an excellent opportunity for practitioners to practice autonomously and to take care of patients. They have excellent support from the company to practice evidence-based medicine and to develop experience in a managed care setting. more »



Protect your outside investments

If you're investing in an outside company, make sure you follow a proper respect for the process.

By Bruce D. Armon, Craig F. Zappetti | Legal Matters | Spring 2012


Throughout your career, you will likely be presented with opportunities to invest in businesses that are separate from your medical practice. These opportunities can present the chance to participate in a business as an investor while allowing you to maintain focus on patients and growing your practice. Though these opportunities can be lucrative building blocks for wealth generation, they can also present significant risks that, if realized, can be extremely costly and detrimental to your reputation.

These risks may be present even if the promoter of the investment opportunity is a relative or friend. For purposes of this article, we are not focusing on health care ventures. For those opportunities (such as an ambulatory surgery center, medical office building, etc.), in addition to the tips below, you must ensure compliance with all federal (e.g., Anti-kickback and Stark) and state health care fraud and abuse provisions. more »



Medicine 3.0

How to use your passion for technology in your job search

By Wendy J. Meyeroff | Feature Articles | Spring 2012


“Two years ago, a physician or practice with a Facebook account was unusual. Now if you’re a doctor without one, you’re considered archaic,” says Mehul Sheth, D.O., who practiced as a pediatrician in Milwaukee before becoming a medical consultant in Chicago.

Physicians can use social media to receive alerts about new treatments or connect with patients. That connection is especially important when patients are faced with long wait times and short visits, says Mehul Sheth, D.O.

Today’s physicians need to be more savvy about non-medical technologies than ever before. More and more, EHRs, social media and mobile computing are just a few of the trends that physicians and practices can’t afford to ignore.

And if you’re preparing for a job search, you can use your grasp of technology as a selling point.

Website development

The lesson: Building your own website
makes you the go-to resource and can attract
potential employers.

Jennifer Thomas, M.D., a pediatrician practicing at Lakeshore Medical in Franklin, Wisc., has shown how a website can be more than just a place to list your address and office hours.

“When I got my first job out of residency in 1998, I was the first new hire in at least a decade, and they had a number of layers patients had to go through to reach a health professional—nurse triage, phone triage, etc. I wasn’t very busy, so I started to hand out my email address, which not many people had at that time,” she says.

By the year 2000, she says, pretty much everyone had an email, and she found herself answering the same questions over and over.

So she set up her own website,, and put up notices on her business card and in her exam room.

“One day, the CEO came in and asked, ‘You have a website?’ and I said ‘Yes,’ waiting to be chastised and beg forgiveness. Instead, I got an email saying ‘Good work,’” she says.
In fact, her website was one reason her current employer recruited her.

It’s no secret that websites are often the first place people search for information on a practice. Think of the opportunity lost if a patient searches for a particular physician and finds nothing at all—or several listings, but no real information.
The best case scenario?

“The [searcher] finds an engaging, user-friendly website, one that tells the story of the people of the practice,” says Tom Ainsley, CEO of Baltimore Media Group in Maryland. He emphasizes the importance of your site’s “About us” link: “It gives the reader your credentials, personality, provides a sense of ‘Would I be comfortable in their care?’” he says. Consider videos allowing visitors to view the office and even “meet” individual physicians.

“Purchase [YourName].com (you can do it for about $10 on and set yourself up as an expert. You can publish information and post your comments about a new treatment, or something you saw at a conference,” says Ainsley. Such commenting may help enhance your value to a practice.
Questions that come into your site can be your bellwether on local patients’ concerns, especially if you’ve moved to a new community.

more »



Telemedicine in action

Video conferencing capabilities serve a variety of patient needs

By David Geer | Spring 2012 | Tech Notes


Physicians are increasingly finding new ways to leverage telemedicine using video conferencing. With new technologies that vendors have conceived and tailored for medical applications, current video-based telemedicine has much to offer. To demonstrate how much, three physicians take PracticeLink inside their practices.

more »



Chafik Assal, M.D.

Snapshot | Spring 2012


Employer: Arrhythmia Treatment Associates, PLLC; Charleston Area Medical Center; Charleston, W.Va.

Residency: Internal Medicine: Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, 2006
Fellowships: Intercardiovascular Medicine: Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pa., 2009
Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology: Geisinger Medical Center, 2010
In practice since: October, 2010

Chafik Assal, M.D.

Volunteer Arabic instructor at St. George Cathedral in Charleston, W.Va. Passionate about learning foreign languages—speaks Arabic, English, Spanish and French. Enjoys traveling and exploring the world, learning about other people’s cultures, languages and customs. Also likes hiking, swimming and photography.

What’s your advice for residents who are beginning their job search?
Be true to yourself. This is the point where you choose where and how your life is going to be. Know what you are looking for and go where you think you will be content. No single opportunity is perfect, but you have to choose what seems “right” for you. Compare the pros and cons of each opportunity, and choose the one with more advantages.

What surprised you about your first post-residency job?
It was a major transition from fellowship to practice in terms of the growing responsibilities and having to make independent medical and business decisions that impact patients, staff, other physicians and myself. The dynamics of the relationship between the referring physicians and the consultant was a major learning experience.

What do you wish they had taught in med school but didn’t?
The business side of medicine. This is extremely helpful in the process of choosing the right job and also during the interview and negotiation stage.

Anything particularly unique about your job search?
Not all medical specialty jobs are created equally. Finding a job in a highly specialized, constantly evolving field of medicine, such as cardiac electro-physiology, is particularly distinguished as there is the important need for a supportive cardiology community to sustain the practice.
In addition, the hospital system needs to offer the optimal work environment especially in terms of modern equipment, technology and computer software.
These factors are essential to my specialty as they provide the physician the optimal environment to perform well and grow in experience and knowledge while in practice.

Any other advice?
I advise residents and fellows to make the most of their post-graduate training and focus on being confident with their medical knowledge and skills. This is the key to success in any medical job type they choose because it allows them to gain the trust of the medical community, which is pivotal in growing a practice and growing as individuals and physicians.