Wow. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since I saw my first patient in my very own office. Well, technically, it will be two years in two more weeks, but there was a lot of prep work before that patient crossed our threshold.
The summer before was a crazy mad rush to get things ready. I thought I had planned things well enough ahead of schedule. The office was purchased, the contractor hired, the EHR in place, the staff (i.e., my receptionist) was hired.
But there were unexpected delays. My contractor’s wife got sick and ultimately died, which meant that my contractor and his crew (aka his sons) couldn’t be at my office with any regularity. And we had to wait on permits from the town, which was understaffed because it had just recently laid people off, so our application was buried on somebody’s desk.
Everything was supposed to be ready by the end of August. I had scheduled patients for the beginning of October figuring that was a decent cushion.
I had a patient call one day. He was important in the medical community and he needed an appointment before he flew to Florida where he was going to spend the fall and winter.
I told him the office wasn’t ready. I told him that I was scheduling people into the middle of October. He said, “You’re there, right? You have a stethoscope? You have an exam room? What else do you need?” or something to that effect. What else indeed? I told him there was still minor construction going on. He didn’t care.
So on a Friday at the end of September, with dust and tarps on the floor, with workers still milling about, I saw my first patient.
Since then, the practice has grown. The schedule is full. I have a new associate. I have two new staff members. We have gone from being the new kids on the block to being a locally well-known practice (well, at least I am well-known, I’m still working on my associate). I am seriously considering hiring a non-physician provider — a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant. I am also considering physically expanding the office (I own it but rent out an adjacent unit).
Yes, we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings of taking phone calls from the break room while the walls were being painted, from a two-man operation with plenty of time to mull over details. I wonder where we’ll be in two more years.
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