Why 2 orthopedic surgeons are staying in medicine


As physicians are leaving the field of medicine — some via retirement, some due to dissatisfaction and burnout and depression. So what is motivating the ones who are staying to continue to practice?

Becker's connected with two orthopedic leaders to learn what keeps them in their careers — despite any concerns they may have.

Note: These responses have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Question: Physicians are leaving the field for a number of reasons. Why are you staying?

Michael Havig, MD. Orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCollier (Naples, Fla.) and Founder and CEO of HealthMe Technology. I've been in practice for 25 years. I'm staying to try to fix the things that are making doctors leave: burnout, lower reimbursement in the face of increased administrative headaches, less control of your practice and a disconnect from the doctor-patient relationship. As an orthopedic surgeon, I take great satisfaction in getting my patients back to the activities they love, but in exchange for that I'd like to be paid a reasonable fee, in a timely manner, without a lot of expensive, time-consuming hurdles to get paid. To that end, I've been a pricing transparency advocate, helping my physician colleagues bundle, price and retail their services to direct-pay patients and employers through HealthMe — a marketplace for transparently priced bundled healthcare I founded. Physicians name their price, give patients improved access to care through our consumer-friendly marketplace and are paid their fee the same day they treat the patient. In doing so, doctors can focus on caring for their patients, and patients can focus on getting better without concern about cost for their care. 

I feel that this endeavor has brought on a new and bigger challenge and helped me power through some of the hurdles we face practicing medicine in today's healthcare environment. 

Carmelita Teeter, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Texas Bone and Joint (Fort Worth). I think the reason that I continue to practice medicine despite some dissatisfaction and burnout has a lot to do with how I identify my place in the world. I dedicated so much time and then energy into training as an orthopedic surgeon that despite other really important roles in my life — I am a wife, mother and a daughter — at my very core I often define myself as an orthopedic surgeon.  The ability to care for vulnerable people brings value to me and is fueled by those people who are appreciative and genuinely grateful for the care that I provide. When I think about doing something different or I think about no longer being able to perform surgery from a technical perspective or interact with patients and offer them care, I just cannot picture what that life would look like.

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