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Unleashing Professional Autonomy: Navigating the Occupied Landscape of Healthcare

Feb 17, 2024

In the annals of history, the saga of occupation and assimilation has played out time and again. When invaders seize control, inhabitants face a pivotal choice: resist or adapt. Throughout epochs, from Israel's enslavement in Egypt to Rome's occupation during Jesus's time and the US's displacement of Indigenous peoples, this narrative echoes. Today, the healthcare landscape mirrors this struggle, with physicians finding themselves as indentured workers in a system controlled by corporate overlords.

I hear this same story repeated with my coaching and consultation clients over and over again, albeit with a personal context. However, the reality is that doctors are struggling to thrive in today's marketplace.

It always saddens me to hear these stories, but at the same time, it serves as a reminder of why it is crucial to spread our SimpliMD message—to help doctors thrive once again!

The Rise of Corporate Dominance

Gone are the days when private practices thrived, fostering robust doctor-patient relationships. Instead, hospitals, insurance companies, and large corporations now reign supreme. This shift towards corporate dominance has eroded the relational aspect of medicine, replacing it with a transactional model that prioritizes profit over patient care.

The New Normal: Indentured Employment

In this landscape, you are coerced into corporate employment, relinquishing your autonomy in exchange for perceived stability. The allure of financial incentives and the illusion of permanence cloud the reality of this arrangement. In this space, it becomes even more important for you to advocate for yourself and strive for a balance between your professional goals and personal values. Finding ways to maintain some level of autonomy within these structures is key to ensuring your job satisfaction and allowing you to continue providing quality care for your patients. Ultimately, recognizing these challenges is essential as we work towards creating an environment where you have more agency over your career while still being able to provide exceptional care.

Gradually, you have become ensnared in a system where corporations dictate terms and control the trajectory of their careers. It's unfortunate to see how the healthcare landscape has shifted, with you feeling pressured to enter corporate employment and sacrificing your autonomy. When you become part of a corporate system, you often find yourself subject to external control and limited in the decisions you can make about your own career. This loss of autonomy can be disheartening for you as a professional who entered medicine with a passion for patient care and the desire to shape your own professional trajectory.

Adapting to the Reality

Faced with this reality, those of you who are millennials and Gen Z physicians are being forced to adapt. For many, traditional employment within a corporate safe harbor becomes the default choice and may work for a period of time. Yet, this path comes at a cost—the erosion of professional autonomy and the commodification of medicine. As you navigate these challenges, it becomes crucial to find ways to maintain professional autonomy while also adapting to the evolving landscape of healthcare. Exploring alternative practice models or seeking out organizations that prioritize physician empowerment may offer viable options for those of you who wish to uphold your values while still thriving in your career. Remember, adaptation does not mean compromising one's principles entirely. It means finding innovative solutions that strike a balance between personal fulfillment and professional success within today's changing healthcare system.

The Empowerment Imperative

Amidst this landscape of corporate dominance, we all must reclaim our professional autonomy. The first step towards empowerment lies in recognizing the value of self-employment through a professional micro-corporation. By establishing a business entity and leveraging it within the healthcare economy, you can transcend the confines of traditional employment.

Choosing Your Path: Fight or Flight

For those of you who are stressed by traditional employment and are grappling with the loss of autonomy, two paths emerge: fight or flight.

Fight Mode:

  • Embrace Private Practice: Channel your inner David and challenge corporate Goliaths by venturing into private practice. There is some place for this still, but overall private practices are vanishing from the marketplace. So do your research before jumping in here.

  • Drive Systemic Change: Stay within the system and advocate for change from within, aiming to dismantle toxic structures and restore autonomy. I tried to do this for 15 years and finally had to admit I was burning out in the process.

  • Embrace Employment Lite: Forge a new model of employment through an employment-lite structure, preserving autonomy while reaping the benefits of corporate affiliation. This is the change I embraced over 10 years ago, and never looked back. It was the best decision I ever made—and is the subject of my best-selling book.

  • Prioritize Lifestyle: Opt for part-time work, down-shifting to 0.7 o 0.8 FTE position, or locums positions to regain control over your time and quality of life. Some call this Job Stacking, and it’s a great option to bring greater balance to your life.

Flight Mode:

  • Diversify Your Income: Explore 1099 clinical income options, non-medical avenues or passive income streams to reduce reliance on traditional employment. Again this is a flavor of Job Stacking whereby you diversify your income channels above a single employer.

  • Embrace Entrepreneurship: Form a professional micro-corporation and compete for patients' discretionary healthcare spending outside the corporate sphere. Many doctors are choosing this path through direct patient care practices that are essentially “off the grid”.

  • Consider Alternative Careers: Venture beyond medicine, exploring non-clinical roles, new business options, real estate portfolio management, or early retirement.

SimpliMD: Your Partner in Empowerment

At SimpliMD, we understand the challenges physicians face in navigating the complex terrain of modern healthcare. That's why we offer a range of products and services designed to empower physicians in their quest for autonomy through self-employment.

  • Micro-Corporation Formation: Simplify the process of establishing your professional micro-corporation, laying the foundation for your journey towards autonomy. You can engage with SimpliMD here to let us help you set up your micro-corporation. Or you would prefer to explore things first, you can start with a $99 business consultation here.

  • Business Coaching: I am here to provide personalized guidance and support as you navigate the transition to self-employment. Whether you're exploring new income opportunities or optimizing your existing ventures, I am here with coaching services to help you succeed.

  • Courses and Resources: You can access my library of courses, webinars, books, blogs, and resources designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a self-employed physician. From financial management to marketing strategies, I cover all aspects of running a successful micro-corporation. You get access to all of this by simply being a subscriber.

  • Community Membership: Take the next step by joining our SimpliMD community as a member and and receive over $2500 in SimpliMD micro-business products as well as members only exclusive deals. Members connect with like-minded physicians on a similar journey. You can share experiences, seek advice, and find inspiration from others who have successfully made micro-changes in their careers.

Preserving Autonomy in a Corporate World

In a healthcare landscape dominated by corporate interests, preserving autonomy is paramount. Whether through entrepreneurship or strategic employment, you must seize control of your destiny. The path to empowerment begins with a single step—the decision to reclaim your autonomy and forge a new future in healthcare through your professional micro-corporation. With SimpliMD as your ally, the journey towards professional freedom through self-employment can become a reality.