3 strategies from 3 GI leaders to ease the post-fellowship transition

Gastroenterologists face a fork in the path post-fellowship. Three GI leaders shared strategies to ease that transition at Digestive Disease Week 2017, May 6 through May 9 in Chicago, according to a DDW Blog Post.

Here's what you should know:

1. For gastroenterologists considering a career in academia, Lin Chang, MD, of UC Los Angeles, said there are two potential tracks: the clinician educator and the physician scientist.

The clinician educator serves as a clinician while the physician scientist is focuses on research. She said successful researchers dedicate at least 80 percent of their time to research, to get independent funding. Dr. Chang also said the clinician educator is a dying breed because of declining funding.

Grant rates are rapidly dropping in the research sector, Dr. Chang said researchers need to be aware of the skills needed in the field and need a plan to get there.

She said, "You have to be able to change and adapt to the opportunities that are there. You have to be able to move with the opportunities. It's the most tenacious people, the ones who stay in the game, who have success, not the smartest."

2. Rajeev Jain, MD, of Dallas-based Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, spoke on the benefits and challenges of private practice.

Six large concepts are making their mark on the private practice arena:

  • Reimbursement rates for operating expenses, particularly colonoscopy, are falling
  • The Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is criticizing anesthesia services models
  • Legislation could target in-office ancillary services
  • CMS is altering Medicare Part B drug payments
  • The Stark Law is preventing the market from properly shrinking and integrating
  • Payers continue to shrink networks to lower costs

However, private practices are adopting advanced payment models in preparation for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. One such model is Project Sonar. The APM has significantly lowered costs related to Crohn's disease.

Dr. Jain said, "In the face of challenges, practices have responded by consolidating, integrating and innovating. There's a strong future for independent practice."

3. American Gastroenterological Association President Sheila Crowe, MD, spoke on the importance of work-life balance.

Dr. Crowe stressed the importance of prioritizing work. While multiple factors can influence post-fellowship life, physicians have to be aware of how much they can commit to while not overextending.

Dr. Crowe said developing a support network to help with personal matters is key. She added that gastroenterologists shouldn't fear "letting go" things that are unproductive or not fun.

"Chose to do what you are passionate about, not what someone asks you to do. In work and in life, your passion has to drive you," she said.

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