The Value of the Physician Ownership Model

Two Vituity Partners break down what it really means to be an owner in a democratic group, and how that impacts your practice and career.

Payton McGowen, MD

Payton McGowen , MD

Board Member
Sachin Patel

Sachin Patel , MD, MPH

Board Member

Published May 16, 2023

Fifty years ago, our founders created a great place to practice medicine, knowing that empowered clinicians deliver the best care. We have grown and evolved through the years, but our physician ownership model remains unchanged. 9 out 10 Vituity physicians make it their long-term practice home. Find out why.

Q: How would you explain Vituity's physician ownership model?

Payton McGowen (PM): The first word that comes to mind is empowerment. As physician owners, we each have a say in how we run our practice and care for patients. Everyone from the medical director to the newest attending has a voice.

Sachin Patel (SP): To me, ownership means I succeed when our practice succeeds. We each have a direct stake in the quality of our care and a voice in how we deliver it. This energizes us to solve problems, innovate, and work as a team.

Q: Can you tell us about your career paths before becoming a Vituity partner?

PM: After residency, I was employed for nine months before our hospital decided to bring Vituity in to manage the hospitalist service. I’d never realized a physician-owned partnership was an option for hospitalists. The ideas of democracy, transparency, and running our own practice were appealing, and our entire group joined Vituity.

SP: I didn’t join Vituity right out of residency, but one of my best friends did. I quickly realized that the culture and values were different. And I wanted to join Vituity. Because I didn’t live near a Vituity emergency room, I joined as a reservist, which is a travel position for partners that supports new practices. So, it was a great way to dive into ownership headfirst.

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The beauty of a physician-led partnership is that we control our schedules and our finances.

Payton McGowen, MD

Payton McGowen, MD

Q: What stands out to you about the Vituity culture?

PM: Financial transparency is a big one. As a woman and a relatively new attending, I was making disproportionately less than some of my colleagues, and I’m happy to say that situation was remedied immediately.

Autonomy is another one that surprised me. Early on, our team restructured our shift and call schedules. It was amazing to decide for ourselves, instead of petitioning the hospital and waiting weeks for an answer. The beauty of a physician-led partnership is that we control our schedules and our finances.Physicians manage themselves much better than hospitals manage physicians.

SP: In my mind, culture is the number one factor that determines whether you’ll be When an organization’s mission and values align with yours, you’re set up for a long, happy careerMany physician groups lack a strong culture and clearly defined values.

Vituity’s values of democracy, transparency, autonomy, and servant leadership are woven into our everyday practice. My medical directors go to great lengths to support their teams.. As a leader, I believe it’s important to never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. Every one of the medical directors in my region set the standard of excellence and work as hard as their physician partners. They share the burden of working nights, weekends, and holidays and hold committee appointments. As the saying goes, “Leaders are those who know the way, go the way, and show the way.”

Q: Can you share a story that illustrates the value of physician partnership?

PM: I was a hospitalist medical director when a regional health system bought out the hospital. At the time, 75 Vituity Partners were working in emergency medicine, hospital medicine, and critical care. The hospital wanted to cancel its physician group contracts and make us employees again. We stood together—each of us making the individual choice to stand with our Partners—and told them we would all walk if it came to that.

Walking into the CEO’s office to give our resignation was one of the most nerve-wracking yet powerful moments of my life. Happily, Vituity found a home for all three service lines with a local competitor. In the end, 73 of our 75 Partners moved to the new health system. For me, it was a huge testament to the power of ownership.

SP: As a reservist and first-year partner, I figured it would take me a few years to move into a leadership position. But my first medical director really valued my work ethic and experience and championed my advancement. As a result, I was promoted to medical director after just three months with the Partnership. Vituity offers many opportunities for accelerated leadership development

As owners, we always want the best person for the job regardless of educational pedigree or seniority. This with skin in the game, we always want the best person for the job regardless of educational pedigree or seniority. This allows us to attract a higher caliber of clinicians. High performers want to be with an organization that celebrates high performance.

Q: What are the biggest benefits of joining Vituity?

PM: Vituity really is the best of both worlds: local autonomy with the backing of a national organization and infrastructure. Right now, a lot of independent hospitalist groups struggle with costs, payer negotiations, and administrative burdens. Vituity takes all of that off our plate. They support us with billing, education, IT, recruiting, and everything else behind the scenes so we can focus on our real passion: medicine.

SP: Working for a large and diverse organization is the opportunity to develop and share best practices. Vituity recognizes physicians as their greatest assets. Many of our innovative solutions, like Rapid Medical Evaluation® and Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI), were developed by a single physician or team and shared across the Partnership.

Vituity understands that healthcare is fundamentally about people. It’s all about engaging the best talent to improve patients’ lives. As an owner, I couldn’t be more proud.


Original article published September 17, 2020

Partnering to improve patient lives

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