As many of you know, I like to write blogs on major holidays. Groundhog Day is certainly not one of them, but in this case, it is appropriate for what I need to announce: I am closing Greater Austin Urology, and merging with NAU Urology Specialists.
We all know the story and the movie. On this day, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from underground. If he sees his shadow, he goes back into hiding, and we get 6 more weeks of winter. If not, spring arrives early. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, is trapped in a time loop, where he is forced to relive the same day, waking up to “I Got You Babe” on the radio every morning. It is only when he changes his ways by embracing the day and continuously seeking to better himself that he is able to escape.
Starting a medical practice and running a business is hard work, but we had momentum. Our patient volumes and revenue more than doubled in 2019, while our expenses stayed relatively stable. We were profitable for the last 6 months, but any volatility in revenue or expense could upset the applecart. And then it happened: we encountered one such jolt, the details of which I cannot mention on advice of counsel. We did not renew our lease when it ended on February 1, so I was forced to make a difficult decision: either continue what I was doing at a different location, or join an existing practice. There is a paucity of high-quality, affordable medical office space near my main office, particularly on short notice, so I would have been forced to operate out of my Round Rock and Lakeway locations. However, I did not want to risk losing those patients who lived or worked near my main office, because given an unexpected rise in expenses, any further drop in revenue could have been catastrophic.
So, like the 2 Phils on Groundhog Day, I made a choice. I did not get scared of my shadow and go back to doing what I was doing. Instead, I took this opportunity to re-evaluate what was important to me and see if I could improve my situation. I will be joining a well-established practice that firmly believes in a holistic approach to their patients’ care. I know it will be different than how I’ve practiced, and I will have to sacrifice a fair amount of autonomy. But in the end, I firmly believe that Dr. Sandeep Mistry and his entire team at NAU Urology Specialists share my vision “to be known and valued for excellence and innovation in patient care, and to be most trusted for personalized, transparent, coordinated care.”
When I wake up on Monday, February 10, I will go to a new office, with mostly new employees. I will surely miss being king of my little office, and most of all working with Stacey and Benny, but I know great things lie ahead. I hope to find a way to continue my blog posts, but I will also have access to even more media outlets, including a radio show that airs on weekends. So, stay tuned, because a new song will soon be playing on the radio. Spring is coming, because this “Phil” is here to stay!