The High Turnover of Vein Doctors in Pittsburgh

The High Turnover of Vein Doctors in Pittsburgh

Doctors at Vein Centers in Pittsburgh Are in a Revolving Door

History of Vein Centers in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh doctorsBefore 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.

The lack of emergencies is one reason that has attracted many doctors into this rapidly growing field.

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.

Most only stayed for a couple of years before retiring or moving on.

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.

Truth wooden road sign with cloud and blue sky background.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

question mark in a mazeThe 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.

tired burned out vein doctorOften, 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.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.