Monday, April 27, 2009

Institute For Medical Wellness Vision

April 27, 2009

I have often been asked how and why I developed The Institute For Medical Wellness.

So here goes.

It all came down to following my vision of what makes a true Family Physician and developing a practice with this mission. This vision has been shaped and reshaped over the past 18 years. Upon graduation from medical school in 1991, and completing an internship and residency in Family Practice in 1994, I felt very well trained to begin my career. My first four years were spent working for another family physician with two offices. One was based in Cherry Hill and the other in North Camden. During those years I matured alot as an individual and as a physician. I learned that being a physician is not just about diagnosis and treatments. It is about building relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

My goal since childhood has always been to have a private practice. So in 1998 I started my own solo private practice in Moorestown. At the time I was told by a majority of physicians that I would never succeed. The prevailing thought in 1998 was that independent medical practices were too risky. In 1998, hospitals were buying up independent practices and physicians became employees of large hospital orgaizations. Well, if you do not know me well yet, I have my own views, many of them contrarian. I do not believe that the majority opinion is always correct. I also do not always play well with others, so an independent practice was my best career decision and I have never looked back and never regretted it.

Now starting a practice from scratch was not easy, but it was the right thing for me. It was slow the first year, but by the second and third year, things were moving along nicely. I was busy enough to be happy, but not so busy that I couldn't take the time necessary for each patient, as well as have enough time for my own family. Health insurance companies were strong, but they were not yet planting themselves between me and my patient's. But year after year insurance companies started requiring more and more bureaucratic nonsense in order for the proper delivery of care. Back in 2004-5 I stopped participating with 2 health plans due to their nonsense. My practice grew nonetheless. But again, each year brought more bureaucratic and governmental regulations that hindered the proper delivery of care. Referalls, preauthorizations, precertifications, electronic billing, HIPPA, and many others were not part of running an efficient and effective medical office when I started medical school. But this is what happens when Big Business and Big Government takes control of your healthcare.

In 2007, I was at a crossroads. My career goal was not to be the richest or poorest physician, but to be the best physician I could be. I explored two opportunities. One would have meant joining a large group practice that would deal with all the bureaucratic nonsense for me. The other was to convert my practice to a Concierge model. Both had many advantages, but also came with one big disadvantage, that being loss of control of how my practice is run. And as I stated before, I do not play well with others. So I needed another direction. I needed a practice model that fit my views of proper patient care and yet still remain viable in the community. So I brainstormed and put together the vision of The Institute For Medical Wellness. Special thanks to my wife, my daughter Nori, and great friend Ivy for all your help with bringing a name to my vision.

So in January 2008, The Institute For Medical Wellness was born and has been growing and evolving every day. It has not been all smooth sailing, and I have hit some bumps along the way, but overall I am moving in the right direction. Being in practice for 18 years, I have become more realistic in my views on medical care. I have learned that traditional medical care does not have all the answers. So while I received a traditional medical school education, my views now also include holistic approaches. In the treatment or prevention of illness, we need first to do it safely and effectively. I do not like to order tests just to order tests. I do not prescribe medications just for the sake of medications or expediency. I do not like calling in a prescription over the phone without a proper evaluation. That is not the best care I can provide. When I do prescribe medications or order tests, it will be the least amount necessary to do the job right. More is not necessarily better when it comes to medical treatment. My views are also that most disease can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. A holistic approach may work very well for prevention of disease as well as for mild disease. But when we get to moderate to severe disease, a traditional approach may be necessary. That being said, nothing makes me happier than lowering medication use by way of a healthier and more holistic lifestyle. Treatment without medications is always the number one goal.

So it is now the Spring of 2009. The Institute For Medical Wellness is 16 months old and is still in its infancy. But like all infants learning to walk, our legs are getting stronger each day. We are learning what our patients want and expect and are doing our best to accomodate in the safest and most effective way possible. The most frequent question has been about offering a closer integration of holistic approaches to treatment. So in future newsletters I will be introducing some holistic integrations available to improve your overall health and wellness. Many of our affiliates listed on my wellness network page will become more visible and available for your care.

So please stay tuned and be certain that The Institute For Medical Wellness is focused not on Big Business or Big Government, but instead on each and every individual who steps through our door. Our focus has always and will always be focused on you!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Medicine
Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone: 856-231-0590
Fax: 856-294-0311

For more information about Dr. Horvitz and The Institute for Medical Wellness, please click here.

To view upcoming Wellness Network Events, please click here.

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