The biggest issues in GI & what Gastro Health has in store for 2018 — Dr. James Leavitt shares insights

In the last year, Miami-based Gastro Health doubled in size and in 2018, it looks to keep growing.

Becker's ASC Review spoke with Gastro Health President James Leavitt, MD, on the importance of fighting burnout, market competition and what's in store for the booming practice in the new year.

1. Concerning issues in gastroenterology: I think there are several things. I think the issues are on the personal side. I think we're an older specialty. Physicians are working longer, and I think we need to talk about physician burnout and what can we do to keep our physicians from burning out and keeping them active, having fun and finding gratification in their jobs.

I think we need to do that because that's an important thing we all need to be aiming for. If we have unhappy physician[s] or [burntout] doctors, they're not going to provide the type of care they need to. I think we need to keep our physicians vibrant and connected. We need them to get real joy and feel that what they're doing is [worthwhile.]

I think it'll help us run our business better because we'll be able to provide better care.

The other thing we need to think about is who is our competition. We have to recognize who our competition is. It's not other GI groups or other physicians. It's going to be hard to deal with healthcare reform and all those crazy consolidations out there. If physicians want to have a place on the market with some leverage where we feel our voice is heard, we need to understand what the market is saying and who our competition is. It's not the other gastroenterologist across town, in the same state or in the same country.

I think we need to start thinking about how we are going to consolidate and create an entity that can be at the table.

2. On how Gastro Health will build on its success in 2018: For us, it builds on [remaining competitive.] A year and a half ago, Gastro Health was the first and only gastroenterology practice that partnered up with a private equity firm. For us, we're trying to live that second point. Our big goal or the thing that'll help us is to continue our consolidation. We doubled in size last year, and we hope to grow between 50 and 100 percent again this year. That's our goal, and I think [that] will continue to be a big strategic factor in our success.

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