Dr. John Happel | Aug 28, 2018 | 0
The High Turnover of Vein Doctors in Pittsburgh
Doctors at Vein Centers in Pittsburgh Are in a Revolving Door
Before lasers, there were only four doctors in Pittsburgh interested in specializing in varicose veins.
The surgeons exclusively treating varicose veins were Dr. Stanley Hirsch, Dr. William Katz who founded the circulatory center in 1979, Dr. J. L. Buchanan, who operated out of Mercy Hospital and Dr. John Happel who began practicing vascular surgery in Pittsburgh in 1986.
Recently, throughout Pittsburgh, high levels of vein specialist turnover are taking a toll on the employees and the patients who visit the vein centers in the city.
Here is an example.
Not long ago, a patient noticed a closed sign on the door of a satellite office for USA Vein CLinics. She was certain of her appointment time and had confirmed her appointment.
After she rescheduled for her treatment, she laid on the procedure table for two hours before being told that the doctor was called away for “an emergency”. (Vein doctors don’t have emergencies.)
The lack of emergencies is one reason that has attracted many doctors into this rapidly growing field.
This happened at the USA Vein Clinics in the South Hills.
USA Vein Clinics recently acquired the bankrupt Circulatory Centers. Many of the doctors who worked for the Circulatory Centers have resigned or have not taken a position at USA Vein Center. Morale is reportedly low.
Other vein centers have had similar problems replacing vein specialists who have gone elsewhere.
At UPMC, Dr. Stanley Hirsch recently retired after training Dr. Ellen Dillavou who left for a position at Duke.
Other vascular surgeons have replaced her.
At the Skin Center med spa, there has been a steady stream of doctors with varying training and experience who have come and gone over the past ten years.
Most only stayed for a couple of years before retiring or moving on.
This array included Dr. Jason Tomsic, Dr. Fredrick Jarrett, Dr. Jerome Itzkoff, and Dr. Marios Panayides.
Dr. Kevin Baskin left from the Body Beautiful med spa’s subdivision called the Advanced Vein Center.
It’s dispiriting to hear patients who have said that they felt uncomfortable with an ever-changing roster of vein doctors.
The Toll of Doctor Turnover on a Vein Center
High levels of turnover take a quiet but significant toll on the vein center where they practice.
Increased levels of doctor turnover also take a significant toll on the employees of these vein clinics.
That swishing sound caused by the steady stream of doctors and employees as they push their way through the figurative revolving door is negligible compared to the silence of lower productivity and the low morale that follows.
The truth is that the cost of this turnover is difficult to measure.
Some have estimated that the cost of the loss of a highly skilled specialist is more than 200 percent higher than that employee’s annual salary.
For physicians who have left Pittsburgh vein centers, job stagnation, no chance of advancement, and poor relationships with the managers are issues.
Unhappiness with the pay for the amount of work involved is often the biggest culprit.
In the vein world, because of increasing insurance company demands and the lowering of reimbursements by these same insurance companies, the industry is stagnating.
That was the reason given by the Circulatory Centers for their recent bankruptcy in their bankruptcy court records.
Many physicians previously employed by the Circulatory Centers who doubt the survival of these vein franchises may have felt that staying may not have been worth it in the long run.
On the other hand, in the start-up world like Uber and the technology companies, there are still growth opportunities.
All of the people including the doctors at vein centers want hope, a chance for stability, the opportunity for advancement and a pleasant work environment.
The Signs of Turnover
The reasons for doctor turnover are as perplexing as a calculus problem.
Sometimes it’s a multitude of issues.
Regardless, the reasons are usually evident and often overheard by the casual but observant patient.
Reasons that doctors quit working at Pittsburgh vein centers:
- Overworked, tired or uncaring physicians
- Double booking resulting in long wait times and angry patients taking it out on the doctor
- Overheard squabbles with the supervising business manager/boss
- Too many patients scheduled in short blocks of time
- Cancelled appointments causing confusion which requires rescheduling
- Inconvenient testing and procedure schedules at inconvenient locations
- Workplace arguments and complaints in the earshot of patients
- Inexperienced medical assistants or staff resulting in compromised results
- Lost benefits including vacation time
Why Doctors Quit from Vein Centers
Many doctors at vein clinics described a toxic culture.
There was a described lack of a code of honor that starts with the businessmen/managers who run the vein center.
If asked to describe the culture, you would get blank stares.
Often, the doctors felt overworked, burned out, as if they were on their own personal gerbil wheel.
Since they are asked to rotate from office to office, they feel detached with no “home base”.
The second reason these physicians quit is that they have little or no input on important decision-making pertaining to their patient’s care.
In other words, the doctors had no voice.
Their opinions were often ignored.
Doctors are trained to be independent thinkers and feel unhappy when their opinions are ignored.
For a vein center to be successful, courtesy, respect and clear guidelines are the guiding principles for successful results and a satisfying work experience.
Vein center owners and supervisors are being challenged to make the most of the doctors and workers that they have.
Regretfully, many vein specialists in Pittsburgh are not up to the task due to high turnover rates.
The doctor is the leader of the team and must lead by example.
The doctor must light the way.
Without the foundation of a strong doctor/leader, the whole organization falls like a house of cards.
The entire team functions best when all parts are working together.
Everyone wants to be part of something big, something successful.
The Happel Laser and Vein Center is the longest established vein center in Pittsburgh.
It is led by Dr. John Happel who received his vascular surgery training and vascular surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He is Board Certified in both Vascular Surgery and General Surgery.
Dr. Happel directs his own vein center which he established in 1999.
You can trust in the Happel Laser and Vein Center vein clinic since the turnover rate is the lowest in the city (zero).
It is a private and independently owned vein practice that embraces positive energy, patient empowerment, and concierge attention.
Call 724-969-0600 to make an appointment today.