Glazer also advised asking questions to determine how solid the compensation model of the practice is; for example, ask whether there is an established revenue stream for ancillary staff, what the billing procedures are for such services as CT scans and sleep studies and whether these revenues are included in compensation.
Explore This IssueOctober 2011
Asking questions about staffing and leadership is important, he said, in order to find out how the administrative team is structured, the role of physicians in that structure, what the requirements are for partnership and how maternity/paternity or disability leaves are handled.
Angela Sturm-O’Brien, MD, a facial plastic surgery fellow at the University of Houston Health Science Center at Houston, reiterated the need to ask specific questions. “Ask to see the first three months productivity of the last person hired and the specifics about the earnings of the group as a whole and individually,” she said.
An Academic Career
Marvin P. Fried, MD, professor and chairman of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Montefiore Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., spoke about what to seek in an academic position. Although many people are drawn to an academic career because they want to teach, he said, in reality, teaching alone is not what is looked for in a prospective faculty member. Rather, it is the desire to work closely with other specialists in a setting that is often hospital based.
Other factors that draw people to academia are the opportunities it affords to work with interesting patients, to do research and to have time to think. He emphasized that, unlike in private practice, compensation packages are usually fixed, and salary is not the most important issue to discuss. More important to ask are questions that will reveal what the department needs, what role a new physician will have, how responsibility and work are distributed and whether there is equality among faculty.
To find which academic setting may be the best fit, he recommended talking to faculty and, in particular, the departmental chair to get a feel for and understanding of the focus and tenor of the department. The chairman sets the tone of the department, he said. “If the chairman likes research, the department will be research driven,” he said. “If the chairman has more of a clinical focus, the department will focus on things like building satellite offices.” He also emphasized getting a feel for the chairman in terms of personal attributes, such as feelings on values and family, fairness, honesty, reliability and sense of humor. All of these things will contribute to whether he or she can be a mentor, he said.