The Ins And Outs Of Forming A Multispecialty Practice

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By Leon R. Brill, DPM, FACFAS, CWS

The winds of change have blown through the medical community with a vengeance in the last 25 years. Managed care has turned medicine upside down. Dramatically lower fees and higher overhead expenses have made us work doubly hard just to maintain some level of consistency in our practice. Just as we have seen in the hospital community, economic necessity has made some strange bedfellows.
Hospitals and outpatient centers, who previously may have been formidable competitors, have now become partners. Some specialty groups, such as anesthesiologists, vascular surgeons and primary care practitioners, have merged to reduce overhead expenses and capture increased patient population.
Podiatric medicine is no exception. I have seen several groups of podiatrists, who previously were aggressive competitors, suddenly merge into large single specialty groups to decrease their costs and increase their geographic area to capture a larger patient population. We have all managed to survive.
An emerging but less common trend in podiatric medicine is the development of multispecialty practices. Why is this trend becoming more popular? In no small way, diabetic care and wound care have played a major role. Diabetic foot medicine and wound care have done more to bring podiatric medicine into the mainstream medical community than any other venue we have ever seen since our profession began. We have become a “natural fit.”
With the increase in multidisciplinary conferences, such as the American Diabetes Association’s Foot Council meetings and the Wound Healing Society meetings, we, as a group of specialists, have had ever increasing exposure to other specialties. They see we have value to bring to the table. Certainly, wound care is not the only “fit” for us. It may be the most natural fit, however. Podiatric sports medicine, orthopedic medicine and geriatric medicine are also viable areas in which to explore multispecialty care.

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