Understanding The Allure Of A Multispecialty Group Practice

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One advantage of working in a multidisciplinary practice is having access to doctors in different disciplines so that one many consult with those in other fields, according to Glenn Weinraub, DPM.
By Glenn Weinraub, DPM

      You should also never expect to become lonely for patients in a multidisciplinary practice. That is not to imply that you will be so overwhelmed as to employ unsafe or poor care practices. In fact, because of the competitive marketplace today, modern HMOs have had to adapt by providing not just care but ensuring total patient satisfaction. This generally translates into manageable clinic and patent load schedules.

      I can think of nothing more frustrating than to have completed a high powered surgical residency program and then end up in a slow practice with limited pathology. I have heard this complaint from many of my peers. The worst part is that this limited practice style does not allow a podiatric surgeon to fully develop his or her medical and surgical skills. This can even be a cause of distress to recent grads when realize they may not have the cases or variety to qualify for surgical board certification.

      Therefore, I have always advocated to graduating residents that they consider working for a large HMO group. In this way, they will have an excellent starting salary, great benefits and a patient population that is satisfactory to maintain all of their professional goals.

Final Notes

      Balance is the best part of joining a large group or HMO. When you have your “physician hat” on, you can delve fully into your practice, academic activities, resident teaching, etc. However, when your “doctor hat” is off, there is always time for your personal life.

      Clearly, each practice model has its own set of pros and cons. In a purely private practice model with one or two physicians, the potential for high incomes and greater autonomy certainly does exist. In the large group setting, you will lose some autonomy and you will probably never see incomes beyond the upper tiers of the MGMA surveys.

      However, you will have the ability to employ your practice style and you will have a rich and varied patient population. You will have time for and may even be encouraged to participate in resident training. You will have time for your personal interests and family. In one case I have seen, you may even have the opportunity to enter into the upper echelons of group practice management.

      In summary, group practices, and HMOs in particular, have had the reputation of being restrictive to the physician but, in fact, I have found the opposite to be true.

      Dr. Weinraub is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is a faculty member of the Department of Orthopaedics at Kaiser Permanente in Hayward, Calif. Dr. Weinraub can be contacted at gweinraub@aol.com.

      Editor’s note: For related articles, see “The Ins And Outs Of Forming A Multispeciality Practice” in the April 2002 issue. Also check out the archives at www.podiatrytoday.com.


1. Rosenthal MB. Pay For Performance in Commercial HMOs. NEJM, 355:1895-1902, 2006.

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