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Dr. Robert Zehr on the risky business of being independent

Orthopedic surgeon Robert Zehr, MD, has operated an independent practice in Naples, Fla., since 2007, according to Business Observer. He recently opened Seaside Surgery Center to provide patients same-day joint replacement procedures. However, staying independent is not an easy feat, especially as physicians have to invest a great chunk of their own capital. "The costs of private practice are huge," Dr Zehr said.

Dr. Zehr and Kurtis Biggs, MD, opened Seaside with a $2 million loan from BMO Bank of Montreal, and partnered with SurgCenter Development, the largest shareholder in the venture.

Seaside has performed nearly 150 surgeries since it opened its doors on Nov. 11, and the physicians say the center is doing well.

Next steps for Seaside include opening suites where patients can recover for up to 72 hours following surgery in the outpatient center. However, the center needs to await state approval allowing outpatient centers to open such recovery rooms. "The governor is behind this," Dr. Zehr said. "I'm sitting on pins and needles."

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