Welcome to MBA!

My name is Mitchell Vogel, MD, FACS.

My patients call me Dr. V and my friends call me Mitch.

Mitch Vogel in the officeI’m very stoked to be a part of your life!  First of all, please know that I love you.  I know, I don’t know you yet, but I love that you found me and are spending your precious free time with me here at the medical business academy.  This blog is a culmination of years wanting to create something different for us doctors and healthcare professionals.

Here is a little about myself, who I am and who I would like to be.

I am a full time practicing ophthalmologist here in NJ.  I am in solo practice and have been in New Jersey for 17 years now.  I am married, with two teenage boys. I have an amazing wife and family. More about me in later posts.

mitch-vogel-doctorThis site is about how we together can improve the quality of our lives, our patients, and our families by applying internet business principles to create online opportunities as well as making our medical practices stronger and more efficient.

It is about you and how we together can make our careers and lives better.

Let me repeat, it is how YOU and how our new community can make our careers and lives better and more fulfilling.

With so many physician blogs, why do we need another one?

Better yet, what’s in it for you?

That will be your journey to discover.  First of all, I am not a professional blogger, nor do I pretend to be one.  I make my living as a full time practicing physician and ophthalmologist.

The storm clouds of healthcare have arrived. Constant pressure and oversight by governmental agencies, insurance companies and the public at large have knocked the doctor off the pedestal that we once were on (described beautifully in the movie Patch Adams). Respect, not reverence is good enough for most of us.

I’m not saying that’s wrong.

To be accountable.

To be accessible.

To be human.

However, now we have the opposition between our best clinical judgment and so called “guidelines” and “best practices.” This has created a no-win situation at times in healthcare.  The doctor is told what tests to order and what drugs to treat with. The patient is told who and when they can see a doctor.  Just spend a day in your office and observe the interactions.  They have become in many ways downright hostile.  What are we to do?

I loathe when doctors are referred to as money hungry, poorly trained scalpel jocks (thanks, Dr. Cox from “Scrubs”) for the quote.  The media is ripe with stories of a few unscrupulous doctors ripping off Medicare and Medicaid.  Doctors performing surgical procedures in hotel rooms and practitioners bilking insurance companies for procedure billed to phantom patients or deceased ones!

We have done a very poor job of policing our own profession, and we all are paying the piper.  Perhaps we have had this coming.

With all the bilious fluid now exposed from the body politic, let’s get real shall we?

I know that if you found your way here, you are a good caring doctor that would never do such things as those mentioned above.  The vast majority of us work long hours, miss holidays and family events due to our patient responsibilities and often provide free health care to the poor.

Us docs have become the silent majority, and we have paid for our inability to defend ourselves, our profession and ultimately our patients’ rights to the care they deserve, not the care they are allotted.

Our medical societies often have conflicting views with their members.  We live in a very schizophrenic crucible, now fueled by social media, which creates a very difficult world in which to practice medicine.

Doctors have never fully embraced the political process as it’s a foreign battle ground; with a different language and morality to what the Hippocratic oath states. The need for action is now, and our political efforts have been poor at best.  Yes, I know about the medical PACS (political action committees) but often these groups are detached from the medical groups they serve, are often poorly funded and are not supported by the majority of their members.

It’s not our fault; we are not political beings.  We were trained to forsake our own lives for that of our patients. We are charged with the health and care of our society and a mighty responsibility it is.  We were trained in medicine, to care and heal the sick and to use our immense talents for the betterment of society.

We all stand as patient advocates and teachers first, not business people.  Business principles were never discussed in my training and even today, many docs have such a poor knowledge of business principles as they apply to their medical practice, that they acquiesce these jobs to an office manager, often with far less education and no stake in the success of the practice.

Even today, recent graduates are woefully unprepared for the rigors of medical practice. We will always be outnumbered by the attorneys, who are better trained in the political arena to be effective for their causes than a doctor is.  The waters of medicine are not favorable at this time.  It’s time to turn the ship to more favorable waters for our own sake.  NOT any port in a storm…

Yes, many of our problems in healthcare today were thrust upon us and some for good reason.  I’m not saying its time to give up, but we are far too busy with the sacred charge of caring for the sick and injured to waste time with nonsense.

It’s this very dedication that flies in the face of the political rigor we need to embrace.  We have never realized how strong we are in number.  Doctors are very autonomous by nature. Therefore, the team approach is often a poorly traveled one.  The very dedication we give to society comes at a price.  The price is complacency, apathy, and the status quo.

Acquiescence.

Even now, bureaucrats and non-physicians make life and death decisions often in an arbitrary and illogical manner.

Our autonomy as professionals has been stripped from our nature; and the sooner we realize this, the better.  To right the ship, we first need to understand the problem. And now we do.  Our line of sight has been obscured by the many twists and turns that healthcare has become.

This blog and medical business academy is not going to be a bitch session about the practice of medicine.  There are other places for venting about these things, but this will not be the place. “Woe is me “ cannot be defended as a physician.  We still enjoy much pleasure that others don’t have.

Yes, we worked for years to earn them, but the public doesn’t care to see that.  We as a profession are still compensated at the top of the professional pay scale.  We are still the most respected of the professions in society.  We do not earn the stratospheric salaries of the Wall Street bankers or the actors of Hollywood.

But nevertheless, we still have a special albeit tarnished position in our society.  It is incumbent on all of use to polish off the tarnish and give it our very best, all the time.  It is my hope that together, we will clear the fog and become the best and most efficient doctors we can be, while still maintaining a fulfilling and productive personal and business life.  Let’s do work…