'I've Had It With Medicine!' 16 Options for Second Careers

Leigh Page

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July 10, 2014

In This Article

2. Become a Physician Advisor at Your Hospital

One job in hospital administration that has seen a lot of growth recently is that of the physician advisor. The position involves working closely with doctors to improve documentation of hospital charges, as well as making sure they adhere to quality and safety regulations. You may also interface with Medicare's recovery audit contractors and other regulators.

Once a part-time position for physicians nearing retirement, the physician advisor is now usually a full-time gig filled by doctors in mid-career. Dr. Heather Fork, the career coach, expects a lot of growth in this field. Although only one quarter of hospitals currently have the position, most will have it in the near future, she said. Growth is driven by the need for alignment with physicians, the shift to Accountable Care Organizations, and increasing use of performance data.

Physician advisors are chosen from within the hospital staff; these folks have earned their colleagues' respect and understand evidence-based medicine. "The physician advisor is a clinical educator, diplomat, and tightrope walker," Dr. Fork said. "This role is only for a certain type of physician who is able to handle conflict and deal with different personality types."

Bernard H. Ravitz, MD, has been physician advisor at the 300-bed MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore for 10 years. Beforehand, he had served as an emergency physician at the hospital for 15 years.

A key part of his job is to monitor admissions. "If even one hospital day is denied, that means we're still caring for the beneficiary but not getting paid for the care we're providing," he said. Working closely with physicians, he sees himself as an educator, helping with documentation and offering feedback to reduce denials and improve care. 

"You have to be able to get along with the medical staff," Dr. Ravitz said. "You have to have people skills."

Dr. Ravitz was a speaker at the 11th Annual Physician Advisor Summit in March and is a founding member of the American College of Physician Advisors, which was launched in May. He said there are roughly 50-100 founding members out of hundreds of physicians in the field. The college plans to provide assistance to doctors interested in this career.

Pluses: This is challenging work for those interested in evidence-based medicine.

Minuses: You'll have to deal with pushback from physicians.

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