When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Many Modern Physician readers knew at a young age they wanted to be doctors. At some point after they began their medical practices, they decided they wanted to take more control of their practices, their institutions and their financial fortunes, and they became physician businessmen and businesswomen.Most hospital administrators are no different. They knew at a young age they wanted to get into a healthcare profession to help sick people. They went to school, got their master’s degree in healthcare administration and began working their way up the ranks of the nation’s hospitals. But as reporter Michael Romano reveals in this issue’s Feature, some of those hospital executives decide to jump tracks. They switched from running a general acute-care hospital to—of all things—running a physician group practice. Or as one such former hospital executives put it, he went over to the "dark side."
On the surface, it would seem that such career-switchers are giving up a lot—money, authority, local visibility and further advancement—to take a job running a smaller operation for less money, let alone managing and massaging physicians and their egos. In his story, Romano peers below that surface to show Modern Physician readers why some administrators gladly are jumping from the hospital sector to the physician practice sector.
Those reasons include less bureaucracy and more control. But perhaps the most important reason for the change is the opportunity to get closer to patients. In a hospital setting, layers of caregivers and managers rest between patients and the executive suite. In a group practice setting, it’s you, the doctors and their patients.As another former hospital executive described his reason for the change, "When you’re administering the operations of a hospital, you tend to be further removed from where the care actually occurs. Your interaction with patients becomes very limited."
In the end, these job-hoppers are realizing their childhood dreams. They want to help sick people.
—David Burda, editor