News & Perspective | By Medscape
Are the Rewards (and Hassles) of a Micropractice Worth It? ~MEDSCAPE; Neil Chesanow Disclosures September 28, 2016
Start Your Own Practice? Today?
“Many doctors sustain trauma when they begin to practice medicine,” says Pamela L. Wible, MD, a family physician in Eugene, Oregon. “You keep thinking that after medical school or residency or when you start your first job, it will get better. But for lots of doctors, it never gets better.”
This is how Dr Wible often begins her motivational lectures. Her target audience is family physicians, internists, and pediatricians who contemplate leaving the group practices where they are employees—and where their professional lives are unfulfilled—to start their own small primary care practices, called “micropractices,” with the belief that it will help them rediscover the joy of medicine.
With small and solo primary care practices thought to be dying out, it might seem counterintuitive to consider starting a practice of any size as a career move today. But because micropractices are so small, they are under the radar of acquisition-minded larger organizations. Dr Wible and other physicians who have started very small practices say that meeting overhead expenses is generally not a problem. She and her colleagues contend that it isn’t hard to match the salary that some doctors earned before as an unhappy employee.
What Is a Micropractice?
What makes a micropractice “micro” is primarily the number of patients. Family physician L. Gordon Moore, MD, who is considered the father of the micropractice movement, began a very small primary care practice in Rochester, New York, in 2001, while concurrently holding an administrative position at a health system and serving on the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. After 7 years of practicing part-time, his panel had grown to about 675 patients.