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Why Do You Practice Medicine in Pennsylvania? Here’s One PAMED Member’s Story


By David J. Truscello

Note: Guest blogger David J. Truscello is a medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia. Several PAMED members wrote about why they choose to practice medicine in Pennsylvania for the 2016 winter edition of the Pennsylvania Physician magazine.

What professional and personal factors incentivize you to pursue a career in medicine in Pennsylvania?

When reading this question, the first word to come to my mind is community. Growing up in South Philadelphia, one of the most prominent aspects is the strong sense of neighborhood and family.

Everyone knows everyone because of what school they went to, what parish they belong to, what brigade they march in, etc. It is these intertwined, strong bonds that encourage me to pursue a career in the area.

As physicians, we are obligated to help those in need. But do we not have the same onus as brothers, sisters, neighbors? The word incentivized is not appropriate for this question, because it would imply that there is some fringe benefit for me practicing in Pennsylvania.

It is my honor and privilege to be entering a field where the needy I am helping are not just strangers. They are family, friends, and members of a thriving, vibrant community. For me, this is all the incentive I need to pursue a career in this area.

When you can perform a medical history and physical examination and still find a few minutes to talk about how bad the Phillies are … you know you made the right choice. The strong commitment I have for the old neighborhood outweighs some of the glaring issues that still haunt Pennsylvania physicians.

Skyrocketing medical malpractice costs make it almost impossible to have a private practice if you choose to not be affiliated with a larger health care network.

While physicians have started seeing some wins on the national scale (such as SGR), Pennsylvania still has unreasonably high, uncapped medical malpractice premiums. In cities such as Philadelphia, it is not out of line to expect a surgeon or OB/GYN to pay close to $100K a year for coverage. This can be demoralizing to private practice, and even some hospitals.

However, the strong affinity I have for the city is enough to overcome these fiscal hurdles.

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