Making independent practice work
Fam Pract Manag. 2003 Feb;10(2):14-17.
To the Editor:
Dr. Sanford Brown’s recent article [“10 Reasons to Be a Self-Employed Family Physician and 10 Ways to Do It,” October 2002, page 41] is so true it hurts. These tips have revitalized me and ensured that I will continue with my number one passion – the art of practicing medicine independently. I was getting more and more involved in the business of practice, seeing it as more glamorous and less labor intensive than clinical practice. I had not looked at the good side of our noble profession in a long time. Thanks for waking me up!
To the Editor:
How does Dr. Sanford Brown manage to work three days a week as a solo physician? I am interested in doing that as well. What if patients need him on the other days of the week?
I work the equivalent of three days in the office (24 hours divided over four days), which amounts to half days on Mondays and Fridays and full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays off. My nurse practitioner covers the office on Wednesdays, and I usually come back after lunch for a short while on Mondays and Fridays to do paperwork and catch some stragglers that couldn’t make it in before noon. My office answering machine allows me to retrieve messages in the afternoons when I’m not there so I can handle any patient problems from home. Except on weekends when I sign out to a hospitalist, I am always available to my patients and can meet them at the office or hospital anytime (though going in after hours for a problem that cannot wait until the next day is a rare occurrence). As an unforeseen perk to semi-retirement, I pay half the standard malpractice rate because my insurer considers a work schedule of 24 hours a week half time. That’s how I do it.
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