So. Working in my own community has been a dream of mine since I still worked for the local fire department. Yes, I worked for my community, but I wanted something more. Then I hurt my back on the job and re-evaluated my entire career choice. I went back to school, then went back for more, then went back for my master’s degree. And got my national certification. And started working. In my own community.
Well, the lesson was Be Careful What You Wish For. My boss literally hated his business and all of the people working for him. When I started there he was on the verge of both business and personal bankruptcy. He hired someone I’ve known for years to be office manager/biller and then we hired someone who has extensive (30+ years) experience in the medical field for the front desk/referrals. We brought in friends and spouses and we spent our weekends there, unpaid, working to make the office presentable. We cleaned carpets, washed walls and windows, scrubbed floors. We brought in our own cleaning supplies because he wouldn’t furnish them. I brought in my own furniture to make the waiting room more pleasant and less like a bus station.
We turned the practice around. When I started there it was losing about $15,o00 per month (estimate). Every month since I’ve been there we’ve made at least enough money to pay the bills, and every month since September we’ve made a profit. A small one, but a profit nonetheless. In December we made nearly double what is needed to break even. We brought people back into the practice that had left years ago due to bad management. We were nice to the patients. We knew many of them because we too live here. And they knew us.
But he lied to us the whole time. He wouldn’t even buy supplies needed to see patients, the doctor bought our supplies out of his own pocket. He sold the business out from under us – the doctor and I were working on a deal to purchase it – to someone else with cash in hand and a slick line.
And the new owner let all of us go. He bought the practice on a Tuesday night, and we were all fired by Wednesday at 130pm. He said he didn’t need us, he was bringing in his own staff. The irony of this is that if he had seen the practice when I came on board, or when the office manager came on board, he NEVER would have looked twice. We made it work. And for that we are out of jobs.
The new owner is from the East Coast, New York or New Jersey, and he doesn’t understand how word travels. He’s a physician’s assistant, and he needs a doctor at the office to be able to work – the doctor is the only one who didn’t get fired. But he doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t like how he works. Which is very slowly. Because, while he wants to make a living, he’s not in this to get rich. Which is why he is still here in this community – the patients know that. And they are loyal to him.
I don’t think this new owner understands small town politics. At all. The patients who were coming to see me were coming to me, for the most part, because they wanted to see ME. Not just anyone. I’m not a number to them, I’m their neighbor. The office manager is as well, and so is the front desk person he let go. And by firing us, by assuming that people would just see him instead and just have to deal with his new office staff, I think he has badly miscalculated. We are not interchangeable. If the phone calls I’m getting are any indicator, I think the physician’s assistant owner may be in for a nasty surprise in the financial department.
You see, common sense doesn’t mean what most people think it does. Common sense is what the peasants have – hard won experience based on the realities of struggling for a living day to day. It isn’t common, and it’s not something wealthy people have in any degree whatsoever, because they lose it as they get more out of touch with every day realities. And this guy has no common sense. He sees dollar signs instead of patients. I see my neighbors.