You’re done with residency/fellowship. Now what?

You have devoted the last decade of your life to medical school, residency, and fellowship. It’s time to get out into the real world for a REAL job. Where do you want to live? What type of practice would you like?

workhoursdoc
From AMA

Timing is everything.  Start early!

I started my fellowship in August.  During my elective pediatric hearts rotation, I met a team of physicians who were very encouraging and asked if I had a job yet (this was October).  I told them I didn’t have a job yet, but I wanted to stay in California.  Maybe it was my lucky day, but one of the lady docs I worked with sat on the application committee for my current job.  She encouraged me to apply to their anesthesia group.  After going through the proper channels, I got a phone call from the anesthesia group saying they would like to interview me for a position.  I had my interview in November and heard back in December that I had a job.  Everything happened in such quick succession.  When I left residency, I knew I wanted to be in southern California.  Thank goodness I matched into a fellowship spot in Southern California!  It makes it easier if you know what area/region/state you want to practice in.  Keep in mind that some states are more friendly to physicians than others.

2018 Best States to Practice Medicine

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Source: WalletHub

 

After you’ve decided on a location to practice, figure out the type of practice options that are available in the area.

Luckily, I was working in the city that I wanted to be in, so I could easily survey the hospitals and find out who was hiring.

Physician Group Practice Trends: A Comprehensive Review. Journal of Hospital and Medical Management. 2016.

Do your research. 

What type of practice works for you?  Do you want a large academic center with a physician-led team approach to healthcare?  Do you want to practice in a private practice setting in a team or solo?  There are so many practice models out there — I wish residencies explored/explained more of these options.  Fortunately, I knew a solo-practice physician-only model would work best for me.

10 Ways private practice differs from academic anesthesia

Keep in mind the number of hours you want to work.  What are the opportunities for working more or less?  How many vacation weeks will you get?  Is there paid-time-off?  Will you have a salary or productivity-based income?  How many calls/month will you take?  Is there a discrepancy between new hires vs. senior partners in access to vacation/salary/calls/etc.?  Is there fairness in scheduling?  How long will it take to make partner?  What’s the buy-in amount?  Is there a buy-out when you leave/retire?  I didn’t know to ask these questions when I was going through the process of looking for my job.  Don’t forget to ask about retirement options and health insurance coverage.  Also, ask if it’s possible to work at another hospital or surgery center in the area or if there is a non-compete clause in the contract.

The Interview

Bring your best self to the interview.  The people who are interviewing you want to know more about you.  Tell them about your hobbies, lifestyle, goals for the group, plans for the future.  Engage your interviewer and ask them how long they’ve been with the group.  How do they enjoy their time?  Keep in mind that they’re interviewing you because you look great on paper.  They want a chance to get to know you better.  Show them your best self, especially all your hobbies and interests outside of medicine.  Keep the conversation casual and inviting.

The Contract

Read over the contract carefully.  My group has a one year contract that is revisited yearly and is the same for every member of our 250+ physician group.  Before I started, some people recommended a contract attorney specializing in medical contracts to read it over.  I didn’t find it necessary in my case as my contract was the same for every physician in my group and the language was very clear to understand.  Use your own judgement.  If you don’t understand the contract, get some help.

 

What recommendations did you find helpful in your job search and interview?

What additional help can I include in this post?

The healthcare debate

Here it is.  I didn’t want to opine, but it’s here and I can’t get away from the topic.  I see it at work.  I watch it at home.  It comes up in discussions…  so in order to make it stop, I’m going to give you an idea of what I see and what I think about Obamacare and whatever else is out there.

April 2015

Public Integrity: Insurers backed Obamacare, then undermined it.  Now they’re profiting from it.

February 2016

Talking Points Memo: The real reason insurance companies are complaining about Obamacare

August 2016

CNN: Will Obamacare survive as insurers pull out?

October 2016

Salon: Making a killing under Obamacare: The ACA get blamed for rising premiums, while insurance companies are reaping massive profits

November 2016

Portland Press Herald: Maine Voices — The problem isn’t Obamacare; it’s the insurance companies

December 2016

NYT: Health insurers list demands if affordable care act is killed

The Huffington Post: The Obamacare paradox — The real reason health insurance companies don’t like the ACA

January 2017

Market Watch: I’m a former health insurance CEO and this is what Obamacare repeal will do.

Great Z’s: Liberals are out of touch

March 2017

LA Times: Here’s the secret payoff to health insurance CEOs buried in the GOP Obamacare repeal bill

Common Dreams: Why big insurance adores the American Healthcare Act

What I see:

When Obamacare was initiated, I recall seeing a patient who had broken her foot while hiking locally.  She had a surgeon who was covered under Obamacare, as well as an anesthesiologist.  However, the hospital chose not to accept Obamacare and she had to pay out of pocket for her overnight stay.

It seems that we’re seeing more and more insurance companies pulling out of the system because it doesn’t seem to be profitable for them.  Insurance companies are a business; they’re not looking after the wellbeing of the patient.  Physicians, nurses, caretakers, the care team look after the wellbeing of the patient.

How many people do you know are satisfied with their insurance coverage?

I’m covered by Anthem on a PPO plan with about 240 physicians.  My insurance rate is lousy for the coverage I receive — a high deductible plan.  I’m young and healthy and take responsibility for my health — why am I paying $620/mo for barely there medical coverage as a physician?  Well, the answer is that our company makeup is a majority of older partners who skew the coverage toward a higher premium — basically a mini-Obamacare environment.  I’m subsidizing their health coverage… and someday, hopefully I will still be healthy bc I’m responsible for my health (keypoint right there folks) and doing everything I can now to give my body the best fighting chance to survive into “old” age.

My question: 

Anyone think to make insurance companies accountable with transparency re: ACA?  Start there.  Does anyone else think it’s odd that the people who are helping shape the bill don’t actually participate in the care/exchanges like the public?  All the while, government and insurance companies dictate coverage and force physicians into tougher situations to deliver care.  Is this what you (the public) want?  When was the last time you saw the fine print of the bills being passed?  Don’t just follow the masses, look for the details and truth for yourself.

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What government officials have for insurance: