The Pediatrician In Control

PCCWinooski, VT

Chip Hart reminds us that independent pediatricians might just have the best job in the world.

Chip Hart coaches and guides pediatricians as they navigate the changing business world of medicine. He combines more than two decades of experience working with busy pediatric practices all over the country with his passion for real world data and good medicine, to deliver practical observations, pragmatic advice, and proactive strategies.

I was at an AAP chapter meeting and got quite a thrill when I overheard someone say, “You sound just like the Independent Pediatrician people.” Another pediatrician asked her, “What’s the Independent Pediatrician?” I got to hear an unedited review. “It’s a magazine about our practices, for pediatricians fighting to stay independent. It’s like they knew my practice.”

Apparently, the first issue of TIP is reaching the intended audience.

Based on the surprising amount of feedback we received — all positive — the first issue of TIP clearly struck a chord. We heard from pediatricians all over the country who were excited, and even relieved, to finally witness a celebration of independent pediatricians. “Can you send me more copies?” Of course we can, just ask.

Many of us had lost perspective on the importance of independent pediatricians as a result of the daily assaults on a lifestyle that, while stronger than ever, remains constantly besieged by forces that envy your freedom, clinical effectiveness, or financial success. Or all three.

We forget that pediatricians might just have the best job in the world. The Independent Pediatrician is here to remind us. Because the fight to remain independent is important — not only for you, but for your patients as well.

2014 has been interesting so far. Many practices reported a significant reduction in patient visits in January. We looked into this and published some evidence that the impact of the weather (school and even office closings), combined with an early viral peak, were largely responsible for perceived downturn, but that wasn’t enough to keep some practices from concluding the sky is falling. Yet, here we are in the summer and the smart practices are filling up with well visits. No collapse yet.

“We forget that pediatricians might just have the best job in the world.”
During our research, it become clear to us that practices didn’t suffer equally. Some practices, it appears, have evolved from their seasonal fluctuation to develop ancillary service solutions that not only protect their businesses, but provide better care.

Meanwhile, the pressure to “get big,” yet stay independent, remains the most compelling storyline among pediatricians. We reviewed the success of BCD Health Partners LLP in NJ bringing 6 pediatric practices together. In this issue, we turn to Chicago, where PediaTrust has followed a slightly different path, but has helped seven pediatric practices maintain their autonomy.

In April, we watched the ICD-10 can get kicked down the road until late 2015. Regardless of the pros and cons of the delay, it was a reminder of the seemingly endless mandates get layered between you and your clinical time with patients. I’m not a big believer in the concept of “the good ol’ days” but there’s a clear yearning for a time when the administrative burden of owning a medical practice was lighter. We spoke to the administrators at Hershey Pediatrics and Pediatric Associates of Fall River to hear how they keep up with the hundreds of regulations they need to follow and what they do to keep the focus on the kids. We also spoke to Dr. Mary Kiepert and heard about her transition from mother to full time, solo pediatrician. Dr. Karen Foti left the world of employed physician work and jump started her own practice. I think many of you will recognize these stories.