Building a Private Practice in the Chicago Suburbs
Author: Tibor Boco, MD
I practice neurosurgery in a private setting at Neurological Surgery & Spine Surgery, S.C., which is located in Westchester, Illinois. I am affiliated with and hold a leading administrative role at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, part of Edward-Elmhurst Health, and also hold an academic appointment in Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Within this arrangement, however, I essentially run a private practice with three of my established partners.
Over the last decade or so, maintaining a thriving private practice in the Chicagoland area has become quite challenging. This is in part due to evolving consolidations and affiliations of large health care systems which seem to be rapidly acquiring independent primary care practices in the communities.
When I left my first job six years ago as an employed neurosurgeon at a large regional medical center, I had a good idea of how I wanted my medical practice to look. I felt that I needed a greater sense of ownership than I had previously experienced as an employee. I had realized that I needed better control of my schedule as well as over my clinical day-to-day activities. I also wanted the immediate responsibility of cultivating personal relationships with my referring colleagues and my patients and in the end, to see my efforts culminate in an effective and efficient neurosurgical practice. In essence, I wanted to be creative again.
I think that to a large degree, I have been successful. There is no question that I work longer hours and in different capacities than I did as an employed neurosurgeon; however, the majority of my work is imminently meaningful to my practice and is therefore satisfying. I have a busy office schedule and usually fill my surgical calendar with interesting and rewarding cases - I am still happiest in the OR.
Transitioning into and building a private practice has been both challenging and extremely educational. I have learned ways and developed better methods to deal with extraneous pressures directing patient care. In this process, I have greatly enhanced my personal job satisfaction.
I recognize that one day it may be impossible to run a private practice within our metropolitan geography, dominated by large health care providers. In the meantime, however, I will continue to enjoy the sense of ownership of my patients and my practice.