A conversation with:
Dr. Lara Hochman

The Art of Medical Matchmaking

Welcome to another enlightening episode of med+Design Podcast, where we feature inspiring stories from the cutting edge of medical innovation. In this episode, we were privileged to sit down with Dr. Laura Hochman, the family medicine physician and innovative founder of Happy Day Health. Known affectionately as the Medical Matchmaker, Dr. Hochman is spearheading revolutionary changes in fighting physician burnout and advocating for more rewarding career paths for physicians. 

At the Crossroad of Adaptation and Vision

Having transitioned from being a family medicine physician to now a career consultant for doctors, Dr. Hochman stands at the intersection of medicine and career fulfillment. Her work with Happy Day Health isn't just groundbreaking; it's a lifeline for physicians seeking to rediscover their passion for medicine. Drawing on her personal experiences and unwavering dedication to physician well-being, she offers alternatives that resonate with their values and preferences. 

As we delved into her professional journey, we unraveled the concept of medical matchmaking and discussed her unique approach to rejuvenating physicians' careers.

Addressing Physicians' Challenges

Dr. Hochman noted that the mounting challenges in the medical field have now reached near-epidemic proportions. She highlighted critical issues such as the increasing rate of physician burnout, escalating workload, diminishing level of control over patient care, unwieldy administrative tasks, and the lack of pay for long work hours. 

She further pointed out, "Many physicians will go to work and we love seeing patients, that's what we enjoy doing, but the bureaucratic hoops are plain unsustainable."

The Looming Burnout

However, a major question emerged from our discussion: In the face of these demanding circumstances, how exactly does burnout creep into the lives of doctors and surgeons? 

Dr. Hochman offered intriguing insights, citing a recent study that indicated the average day's work for a primary care physician meant grappling with a phenomenal 26.2 hours. A significant portion of this time is spent battling paperwork, dealing with insurance companies, and navigating through irrelevant tasks, without adequate reimbursement. 

Navigating Personal Burnout: Dr. Hochman's Journey

Dr. Hochman's experiences with burnout translate into a deeply personal journey. She mentioned how burnout not only affected her professional life but also had a significant impact on her personal life. "I was cranky all the time. I woke up with a feeling of dread. It was just awful," she disclosed. However, she emerged stronger—her experiences providing her with a clear vision and courage to leave practices that were not emotionally conducive.

Happy Day Health: Physician Wellness Reimagined

Dr. Hochman's venture into the business world with Happy Day Health has been riveting. As an entrepreneur, her focus remains on aiding physicians in finding fulfillment in their professional lives. 

Utilizing her distinct medical matchmaking process, she helps burnt-out physicians or doctors considering a departure from medicine. She connects them with career opportunities that reignite their love for their profession. For Dr. Hochman, it's more than just filling a job position—it's about transforming lives and careers.

Advocating for Doctors

Dr. Laura Hochman, through Happy Day Health, is championing a critical cause—reinvigorating physicians' careers while enabling them to maintain a balance in their personal lives. By providing insights into how their professional environment can be improved, she is empowering doctors to advocate for themselves and restructuring the medical field to be more supportive and conducive to physician well being.

Dr. Hochman's work as the Medical Matchmaker is truly groundbreaking and signifies a beacon of hope in the world of medicine. Through her innovative approach, she is not only tackling physician burnout but also paving the way for a more rewarding and balanced path for doctors everywhere. 

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Jared: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the med+Design Podcast, where we bring you engaging stories from the front lines of medical innovation. Today we're thrilled to welcome Dr. Laura Hochman, a family medicine physician, and the innovative founder of Happy Day Health. Dr. Hochman, known as the Medical Matchmaker, is a beacon of hope in the world of medicine, tackling physician burnout, head on, and advocating for a more fulfilling career path for physicians.

Having transitioned from a family medicine physician to a career consultant for doctors, Dr. Hochman stands at the intersection of medicine and career fulfillment, embodying the essence of adaptability and vision. Her work with Happy Day Health is more than just groundbreaking. It's a lifeline for physicians looking to reignite their passion for medicine, offering them alternatives that align with their values and needs. Her unique perspective, rooted in personal experience and dedication to physician wellbeing make her an extraordinary guest for our podcast. We're excited to delve into her journey, explore the concept of medical matchmaking, and discuss her approach to revitalizing the careers of physicians. So without further ado, let's start a conversation with Dr. Laura Hochman. Welcome. Thank you.

[00:01:05] Lara: Oh my goodness.

What an introduction. That was awesome. I might steal it as my bio.

[00:01:11] Jared: I'll send it to you after this. Thank you. And so just getting started with things, can you tell us about, some of the challenges faced by physicians today and why there's such a need for positive career change?

[00:01:22] Lara: Yeah. There are so many and it's really almost at epidemic levels. Physicians are leaving medicine faster than we're making new physicians, and there's a shortage already to begin with. Burnout is such a big topic these days for physicians. And there's so many things causing it.

We don't have that decision making power that we need to be able to take care of our patients. A lot of our time is spent doing things that are completely irrelevant and useless. And it's not paid time. Many physicians will go to work and we love seeing patients, doctors go into this cuz that's what we like to do.

We love it. But, we go to work, we see our patients and then we go home and put our kids to bed and then get back on the computer and keep working for another few hours. So it's really just not a sustainable way of living the way that we have to jump through the hoops these days. Yeah, it's interesting.

[00:02:14] Jared: And so I guess, with burnout? How does that sort of happen to people? We've heard from other physicians or we had another guest that was a surgeon and he was talking about how his day is 12 hour day, 14 hour day.

And I can imagine that's probably the case for others as well. Yeah, there was a study that came out recently that looked at how many hours in a day it takes to complete one day of work for a primary care physician. So I'll let you take a guess before I tell you how many hours it takes. For one day of work for one eight to five with one hour of lunch.

[00:02:50] Lara: So eight hours of patient care time.

[00:02:53] Jared: I've gotta say it's gotta be over eight hours. I'm thinking 10 hours,

[00:02:57] Lara: 26.2.

[00:02:58] Jared: No.

[00:03:02] Lara: Yeah. Where are we gonna fit that in? No. Yeah. And it's insane. There's so many, the insurance companies are on our backs to do all these ridiculous things and question our judgment and tell us that we should prescribe this instead of this.

And so we'll spend often on one medication, we can spend an hour on the phone with an insurance company, which is not reimbursed time. And couple that with the fact that reimbursements are decreasing, so as the cost of care keeps going up and inflation happens and we need to hire more and more people to help us with these 26 hours per day.

We're getting reimbursed less. And so then that then creates another whole issue of then you have to turn through the patients, which is not what we wanna do. And then patients, insurance is worse on the patient side. So then they come in wanting to discuss their six issues in the now 10 minutes that you have.

And it's just not realistic. And so there's this big cycle of, it's making me feel anxious just talking about it. It's just, it's a lot. It's just too much. And what do you do? There's so many angles that need to be tackled here.

[00:04:10] Ty: Yeah. It's not like you can just have a magic wand and just erase each of those issues because it's a, you've got quality and cost and, those two things we don't wanna sacrifice on quality, but at the same time the skyrocketing costs, like there's definitely trade offs to each of these.

[00:04:25] Lara: Exactly. There's definitely ways of decreasing cost with insurance. But the insurance companies and the hospital systems have to be on board. Which they're not yet.

[00:04:34] Jared: So we wanna talk about Happy Day Health, but before that also, curious of maybe your own experience with burnout.

How has it affected your life as well, and maybe inspired you also to start Happy Day Health?

[00:04:46] Lara: I've been through burnout a couple times. After the first time I was at least more aware of it for the second time. The first time I was burnt out, I was actually working technically part-time. But I was still, my kid was still the first one to be dropped off at daycare.

She was still the first one to be the last one to be picked up. I'd get there and they'd be sitting in the front holding her, and then as soon as I go, they go, thank you. And I was working technically part-time. That was not fun. There's a lot of decision making that's taken away from physicians.

I was cranky all the time. I hated putting my kids to bed. Not because I hated putting my kids to bed, but because I wasn't in a good state of mind. I didn't putting my kids to bed. I woke up feeling just dread. It was just awful. It's permeating in your whole life. And when you're on call after hours, which, when people would call me after hours with real questions, great.

But sometimes it's, Hey, I've had this for four days and it's 2:00 AM when they call me like, Hey, I've had this hi thing for four days, can you call in a prescription? I'm like no, I'm going back. It's that kind of pissed me off. If I can use that word on live. Oh yeah.

There's a, and there's, it's just when I'm in a good state of mind, I'm happy to be like, you know what, that's not really appropriate. Call the office in the morning. No big deal. But when is the middle of the night, I'm like, Ugh. And then I come back asleep. Lose this number, please. Yes. Oh my gosh.

That was the first time that ended. Second time around I would say was more, I dunno if you've heard the term moral injury. I think that's, more the second round of burnout that I went through where big changes were desperately needed to happen and. It was really one change, but it was a big one and I didn't have the ability to change it.

And no matter how much I reached out to my supervisor, all, I probably reached out to about five or six upper level people to try to help me with this and didn't, but it was such a big issue. It was affecting patient care, it was affecting my ability to have fun at work. I like to go to work and joke around and have fun and yeah, it was not, it was bad.

It was really bad. And I was aware of it. I did whatever I could to change and it just eventually, I was just like, unfortunately I think this is probably not the right place for me and I left. Having done it the first time It gave me the courage to leave the second time.

It's very difficult to leave as a physician. And I know that I don't just say this as myself. I know many physicians feel the same way where we'd love our patients. I just feel if I, when I left that practice, I felt like I was breaking me, having 3000 breakups.

I don't wanna break up with you. I wanna keep in touch with you. I love my patients. But it just, it wasn't worth it. It wasn't unfortunately worth everything.

[00:07:31] Ty: Yeah. It's for that kind of level of, I guess you said moral injury, that level of challenge that you were facing to have it be that severe and also not listen to when you were trying to raise the issue and trying to address it, doing your everything on your part, and if the administration wasn't meeting you even part of the way, it's just that was kind of the only choice you've had.

[00:07:50] Lara: Exactly.

[00:07:51] Ty: There's a question I think relates to some of the discussion. This comes from Ken and if we're open to it. So Ken asked, do you think the bar is too high for even the most motivated people to become physicians?

That the path may might be too onerous or expensive, and that anybody who wants some kind of life balance is cut out even before the journey begins. I think it's, good question for our topic here. It's just the, are we structurally putting too much on physicians at 26 hours in, in a given workday?

[00:08:19] Jared: Yeah.

[00:08:20] Lara: And I think the question is around becoming a physician. I do think it's too expensive. For sure. I don't know where the breakdown is, where we can help with that. For sure it's too expensive and I think that does cause a lot of the issues downstream where physicians are feeling stuck because they feel like they need to take the highest paying to pay off their, I speak with docs who have $500,000 of student loan debt.

That's not a, that's not even real money. That's like a lot of money. Yeah. As far as the bar being too high. Other than that I don't know if, I think it's too high. There's no shortage of people applying. So I guess from that standpoint, no. But it's very difficult. I do think there needs to be more collaboration rather than competition when it comes to medical school and residency.

There's a lot of competition and I was fortunate. I had the most awesome med school class and the most amazing residency class. But I don't know, I think so long as like physician wellness and resident wellness is taken into account and respected. I think it's okay. I know that not everyone was so fortunate to go to the coolest residency programs.

I think it's very dependent on where you went. If the bar is too high on all of that, it's hard. Like it's hard.

[00:09:35] Jared: Define a cool residency program as well. What's the, what's all, what's also like a non cool, or, what's the polarized effect that you could have through those programs?

[00:09:44] Lara: I'll tell you my experience with residency. The program I went to, the people, I picked it in large part because of the people. And I think that was a very defining thing about the program for most people. They were just awesome and they spent a week during orientation mostly getting to know each other and bonding, and by the time, as an intern, I felt great.

Like I trusted my colleagues. I knew who to go to for help and everyone was always happy to help each other. There was open lines of communication. We had fun. We joked around, we, it was just, it was fun. Like I felt my 80 hours a week were no big deal cuz I was going to hang out with my friends.

It was great. The faculty were supportive and kind and other residency programs are not like that. Everyone is different from the others. A lot of them are very malignant, very competitive. Some residency programs, which I will not name have a reputation for firing one person every year.

And that's just what they do. And, that puts doctors in a huge predicament which, leads to a whole bunch of questions. Is it just that's what they do or is it that there's bad that people are, compelled to do things that would get them fired. Is that, that they're not picking good people, who knows?

There's a lot of that, there's a lot of doctors aren't, or, residents aren't allowed to just be human. Sleep, eat, have feelings, save lives.

[00:11:10] Jared: But I think of when I think of that process, I think of like the early episodes of Grey Ana, Grey's Anatomy, and I loved that

[00:11:16] Lara: show in med school.

[00:11:19] Jared: They have that like really militant like doctor that everyone's like afraid of, I forget her name. I forget all their names, but Oh, reminded me of that. She was the

[00:11:25] Lara: obgyn. Yeah.

[00:11:27] Jared: I really do wanna touch on just Happy Day Health. You're talking about what inspired it, how has that transition been for you to go from, physician to business owner and now you're helping all these other people around the country?

I can imagine. So yeah, just tell us about how that's gone for you so far.

[00:11:42] Lara: It's been so interesting. I don't even know where to start. Being a business owner is fun. Talk about autonomy. I get to make it myself. Being a physician. Like most of my colleagues, I'm extremely type A and a workaholic.

And so I have, I've found balance as a physician and I had to refind it in this as a business owner cuz there's no end. You never stop. You guys know what I'm talking about. Oh

[00:12:09] Jared: yeah. Especially Ty. Oh my gosh.

[00:12:12] Lara: So that, I'm still working on it. But that was something that I had to relearn all over again.

It's been, I would say, more difficult than medical school. I feel medical school is difficult in that there's such a large volume of material to learn. This is difficult in a very different way. I didn't know how to do this when I started and it's like jumping off a cliff and building the plane on the way down.

Once again, you know what I'm talking about. Yeah. So building in public, definitely. Yeah. It's difficult. And when I started even still today, most people don't know who I am, but when I started, no one knew who I was and so I'd get a lot of, not very nice comments from people who didn't really understand where I was coming from, the internet people do that. Yeah. And that was hard. That was very hard. I still practice medicine, no one really asks those questions and I got things like she's such a sellout, how dare she? And that hurts. I'm trying to help people.

Yeah now I get enough good feedback, but that stuff rolls off a little bit but that hurts. Building the business has been interesting and fun. Just like I love taking care of my patients even more I love taking care of physicians. So the mentoring part of it has been absolutely incredible.

I just love it. I've taken burnt out physicians or physicians who've even left medicine before and put them in a job that they enjoy and it's life changing for them, and that's there's really just having been through it myself and knowing, what that feels like, there's just, it's it feels good.

It feels nice to help people

[00:13:47] Ty: yeah. To help them get placed in some, like your work, you spend so much of your, particularly physicians, and so much of their time in their workplace. And to have a good match it would be transformative for their quality of life.

[00:13:57] Lara: Completely. Completely. And the doctors that I speak to that are, often about to leave medicine when we talk about why they're ready to leave. A big part of that is has nothing to do with medicine. It's all to do with not being listened to administration, seeing too many patients all the paperwork, all that stuff.

And the actual medicine is never the issue. Wow. Rarely the issue. And so to be able to get back to enjoying medicine again is just monumental.

[00:14:23] Jared: That's incredible. And so how do you go and actually find a great workplace for them to go to the right opportunity? I guess obviously from firsthand experience, you know what to look for as far as, what you would prefer to have.

And so what's that vetting process like for you? And do you often have to throw out opportunities because it's maybe they're trying to mask you know, who they really are or to some degree?

[00:14:45] Lara: I have had to decline opportunities from practices because I didn't feel like they would treat their physicians well.

The vetting process, a lot of it is getting to know what's right for them. I know what kind of practice I'd like to be in. And that's not always the same for everyone. The most important thing that I probably value the most when speaking with practices is getting a feel for how they treat their physicians, how they treat their office staff, what the culture of the practice is what support the doctors get in things like admin or paperwork or, do they get admin time or whatever it is.

Those are the most important things that I look for. And then, other important things like is the practice financially viable? All of those things.

[00:15:29] Ty: I heard a statistic or a study that was done where if you have a highly specialized doctor that leaves your practice, you think about like lost revenues, then cost to replace that person can be a million dollars.

In total to the practice for losing a, highly specialized physician of some kind. Yeah. Or surgeon. And so like you think about that, like the neglect that can happen in terms of good practices listening to doctors having a good workplace like that carries a real cost. I don't think health systems are always fully aware of.

[00:16:01] Lara: Right, and the health systems can eat that cost. The small private practices, it just bankrupts them. So it's a big deal.

[00:16:10] Jared: It's something, yeah, I guess talking about yourself as, the medical matchmaker and I think it's fascinating that, when you talk about. Physician wellbeing that there's nobody other than you really like working on this sort of matchmaking process, like physicians have been totally overlooked in that regard. And so I guess, how does your work, differ from the medical matchmaker side, from a recruiter and just also what's your vision for the future of this sort of space with Happy Day Health?

[00:16:40] Lara: Oh my goodness.

Okay. The future question's a big one. Don't let me forget to come back to that one. Yeah. I differ from recruiters in a bunch of ways. So for one, I probably the biggest is my mission and absolutely everything comes back to my mission of helping doctors to really enjoy where they are and enjoy practicing and get to enjoy medicine.

We trained for a long time to get here. A lot of what I do is coaching through the whole process. So when I help a doctor with a practice, we, first I'll speak with a doc about what they're looking for, and then when we find the practice that may be a good fit, I speak to them beforehand and we talk about what to look for in the practice and how to interview in a way that makes sense for them.

If they had told me that it's really important that they find a practice where they have, X, y, Z support or whatever that is. Then we'll talk about how to ask that in an interview and how to evaluate that in a practice. And then after the interview, we'll talk again. And so there's a lot of debriefing and, I'll help them through the negotiation process, not just to get what.

Get the most money, which is, a big part of negotiation. But a big part of it is knowing what's reasonable to ask a practice and, can we ask the practice for, this practice maybe can't afford to offer you X Y Z' salary, but maybe they can offer you something else. So it's a lot of, going through that whole process and just making sure they do the right, the right thing by them.

Because I do work individually with practices that I've vetted, I also help docs, I only work with private practices cuz that's where I feel like docs should be. But I know that not every doctor wants that. So if I'm putting them in touch with the hospital, it's so important that I stay in touch with them to, just help make sure that the whole process goes smoothly.

So there's a lot of, there's a and, telling, I wouldn't ever say to someone maybe I would this isn't the right job for you, but. Guiding them in a way like let's look into that part a little bit more. Maybe you should speak to this person about that.

Or, helping them to navigate that whole thing. Because you want your next job to be the best job ever and the place that you stay forever with a caveat being that if it's not you leave, that's okay. You don't wanna just job hop from job to job. But if it's not the right place for you, don't stay somewhere that's making you miserable.

[00:18:51] Jared: So you made the case that private practice and physicians groups would be probably the best place you'd try to place people, but then, university hospitals might be where like, it just makes the most sense for the individual. Could you talk through some of that, like why you think the I guess private practice would be the best spot?

[00:19:08] Lara: Yes. Again, there's always a caveat. Caveat being not every private practice is wonderful, but typically with in private practices is the physicians are all working together. The owner of the practice is usually also seeing patients. So if there's something that is really annoying, like doing prior authorizations for medications nonstop, every day, they're gonna be experiencing that too, and they'll work to find a process to fix it. And also it's more personal. So when you're dealing with human beings, it's a human being, you're gonna be a little bit nicer versus like in a big system. It's just a big system and it takes away that personal part of work. And your supervisor may be great, but their supervisor has no idea who you are.

And there's a lot of separation between you and the decision makers. And things move very slowly in big systems, which is fine. But there's, I've never heard of not never, I almost never hear about a physician in a private practice who's not allowed to fire a patient for being physically dangerous, and you would not believe the stories I hear from doctors in the big systems on, I had one patient who often many attempts to fire him and being told that this physician couldn't fire him.

He tried to drive his car through the clinic and they still couldn't fire him. So what? Yeah, I know. Wow.

[00:20:39] Jared: That's I remember so my dad was worked in the ER and he was a kind of a big, burly guy, and he wasn't a physician, but he was a somebody that the physicians turned to. And they had somebody on the upper floors that was like admitted.

And he was being very combative with the staff and everybody. And he didn't want anybody to touch him. He was there. He had committed a crime, so he was already there for like they had him like handcuffed and stuff. But he was also a kung fu master. And this is in the eighties.

And so this guy figured out how to get out of the handcuffs Somehow he had unhandcuffed himself and was going wild in the upstairs floor trying to attack everybody. Anyways, that, that story just reminded me of like how, yeah, you just never know what's gonna happen.

[00:21:30] Lara: Over there. The ER is especially tough.

You can't get rid of patients in the ER. Someone needs emergency help. They need emergency help. Yeah. I

[00:21:37] Ty: was talking to a emergency room doctor the other day who he was describing that the jail had sent somebody over. It was too violent for jail. To the emergency room.

[00:21:48] Jared: Let's do that.

Yeah. Send them straight to the emergency room. Hey wow.

[00:21:52] Lara: Yeah. While sharing stories. I know a psychiatrist who had to admit a patient to the inpatient psych ward because the patient was homicidal against the psychiatrist.

[00:22:03] Jared: Oh my gosh.

[00:22:06] Lara: Ooh. You can imagine he doesn't work there anymore. Yeah.

[00:22:10] Jared: It's funny cuz we're talking about physician wellbeing, but maybe physician safety should be on there as well to some degree. But okay. We backtracking, we got off topic a little. Yeah. Let's talk about, the vision that you have for medical matchmaking and just for your company as a whole.

As we mentioned like you're the only one doing this thing, so you're a trailblazer in that regard.

[00:22:30] Lara: Yeah, vision for my company. I'd like to get to the point where people understand what I do and, at least well known enough that I can say, Hey, I have this GI position in Houston.

It is awesome. And then people are like, oh, they, they understand. They're like, here, I'd love to talk to you about it. That would be so freaking cool. Whereas right now I'm still, it's like pulling teeth to get doctors to talk to me. And I totally understand why. And that's it for my company.

I have lots of other things that I'd like to work on. I have a solution for, the high turnover rate in medical assistants and receptionists that a lot of practices see. So I'd like to implement that. That is a very far distant future cuz it involves a lot of tech. So maybe I'll get in touch with you guys closer to the time.

We should. Definitely. So I have a lot of directions I wanna take it, but for now, just focusing on helping doctors to find the right match. I'd love for it to just be, where doctors know what I do and why I do it and understand that the practices I work with are just phenomenal.

As far as the even bigger picture, what I'd love to see, and this is where my, this I guess would be more my North Star, is where physicians understand what a good practice looks like. They understand what it means to advocate for yourself not just in the interview process, but as a physician who's working at a practice.

And do that in a way that hospitals and the big systems really have no choice but to treat their doctors well. I'd love to see the physician owned private practices, have a little bit better negotiating power with the insurance companies so that they can get reimbursed well enough to really, not have to find creative ways to stay open and, have to hire five non-clinical staff to do the work of one physician. I'd like, I think the biggest thing is doctors are treated like human beings and, able to do the work that we wanna be doing. And I really think that until enough of us, Unfortunately say, no, I won't take this job because it has a 30 mile non-compete, or because, whatever it is.

That's the point where the hospitals have to say, okay, or even just negotiating right now, the hospitals are like, take it or leave it. And the doctors are like, oh, okay. So getting from the, okay, I'll take it to I'm leaving it, and then they have no choice.

[00:24:59] Ty: It does feel like with the shortage that we're having with just capable physicians who were trained based on the number of openings that are there, that you do see a shift in the market that's happening in that supply demand relationship, but it's just the hospital systems haven't caught up to that yet in practices and reforms that are necessary.

[00:25:20] Jared: Yeah, exactly.

I'm curious of, so you know, you talked about. The hospitals are at play with this. The insurance companies are at play with this sort of issue of overworked physicians. Is there a future where you envision like the insurance companies actually treating physicians better?

We talk about how, like who, who do physicians work for and essentially they're getting paid by the insurance companies, and when I think of it, I think physicians almost have the worst bosses ever cuz insurance companies are the worst systems to work with, I would say.

What has to change within the way that they do their billing or just yeah, with that process for this more utopian future to happen I guess.

[00:25:56] Lara: Lots of changes. What a lot of doctors are doing now is just not taking insurance, which is, good for the physicians good for some patients. This is gonna go one of two ways I see it happening.

Either we're gonna have a two-tiered system where you have higher quality care, not taking insurance, and then, maybe some non-physicians who are providing the care. And those are the ones taking insurance. That's one kind of possible way. The other, who knows? I think the insurance industry is gonna implode a little bit.

I don't know. I don't know what needs to happen. I think that the way that it was where I grew up, which was not in the us was that we would go see a doctor. We would pay the doctor what the doctor charged, whatever it was, just say for argument's sake, $50. We pay the $50, we get a receipt, we send the receipt off to our insurance companies.

Great. So we know for every doctor's visit, we're gonna get charged. The insurance company will reimburse $40. So I can choose to go to a doctor that charges $40 and get reimbursed, or I can choose to go to a doctor that charges $50 and then I get reimbursed for most, but not all, that seems like it would be a really great solution.

Of course, there's a lot of holes in this. Not everyone can pay upfront. However, It almost seems like when you put the consumer in charge of dealing with the insurance companies don't have as much power against the physicians and you have all of their millions of paying clients calling to argue with them for all the things that they're doing, rather than, little old me with my 3000 patients, what am I gonna do?

Yeah. I don't know. I think there's a lot that can't be done, but who knows? I hope there are lots of people who are working on it.

[00:27:43] Jared: I hope so too. So I know we've spent a lot of time talking about all this, but I think we do wanna talk about just you as well and your background.

So what kind of inspired you to start getting into family medicine in particular as a physician? And how was that sort of pathway for you before all this has happened?

[00:28:01] Lara: Okay. So I decided to go into family medicine in large part because I'll go back. Even before that, I went to medical school to become a surgeon.

I love surgery. I love working with my hands. Oh. I really, I loved it. I had done, I was gonna do ENT. I had done the research. I had done all the rotations, like I was on a path to become an ear, nose and throat surgeon. And Work-life balance, even at that point when, I don't even know if it had a name.

I don't know that it was called work-life balance back then, but that was important to me. I knew that I wanted to have kids and I knew that I wanted to not wait five years to have children after medical school but not have kids in residency. I started looking at other things and that's where I found family medicine.

In the middle of interview season, I pushed all my ENT interviews to the end of interview season, scheduled the family medicine at the beginning. And, during that time I had made my decision. And I like the relationships you form with family medicine. I like the variety.

I like that you're constantly moving. I don't like to sit all day, which has been one of the challenges with Happy Day Health. I sit a lot. I sit a lot. But I'd like, I like it and you can really just make it whatever you want to be. So I ended up doing a lot of procedures when I started out in family medicine.

And I did struggle with it at the beginning. Being a family med doc, I still, missed the idea of being a surgeon. But I have no regrets like, Absolutely none. I love, love, love my patients and the relationships I've formed with them. And you get to know the whole family and it's, it's just, it's amazing.

And I really have enjoyed, some of the interesting medical mysteries that have come my way that I get to figure out. Those are really cool. I just, I love it and it's allowed me the opportunity to do, I've had one position that I got to do some admin where I really enjoyed.

And a lot of that was in supporting other physicians. And then, I still practice. I still, I was in clinic yesterday. I'll be in clinic tomorrow. So it's great.

[00:29:47] Jared: That's wonderful that you're still practicing as well. Yeah. And obviously now you're an entrepreneur, business owner, and was that something you ever envisioned for yourself?

When you were younger, were people in your family business owners or was this just more out of necessity because you felt this need for helping physicians?

[00:30:05] Lara: This was definitely about as far from anything I ever wanted as possible. So there was, there's this one program that came up, it's an m MBA program that I was like, oh my gosh, it looks amazing.

And it had nothing to do with the actual business side. It was, all this other stuff. And, I really thought about doing it and I even applied and sitting with my husband talking about it. He's like, why do you wanna do this? I'm like, cause it looks so cool, blah, blah, blah. And he's would you ever wanna start a business?

I was like, heck no. Not a chance. Anyway, not what I wanted to do. Yeah, this came out of there's a problem. I have a potential solution and I have to do what I can to be a part of the solution.

[00:30:44] Jared: Absolutely. Have been. Yeah. And as we're like getting towards the tail end of this conversation, just what advice do you have for physicians who are experiencing burnout and are looking for a way out?

[00:30:54] Lara: Essentially, the biggest thing to know is that Number one, you're not trapped. I speak with a lot of docs who are like, I'm just stuck here. You're not stuck. Even if you have a crazy non-compete, even if you feel responsible to your patients, like you're not stuck, you can make that change.

That's probably the absolute biggest thing. The other thing is if you're somewhere where you're unhappy or even if you've left medicine already, it's important to know that there are other places that you can work that are better. You don't wanna jump right back into what you left. So if you leave one large system, maybe you don't wanna jump into a large system, another large system.

Maybe it's time for private practice, or maybe it's time for a direct care practice or there's so many other ways of practicing that you don't have to feel like medicine is messed up and I'm done. Medicine can be, we all know medicine's amazing. But you're not stuck. Reach out to me.

I'd love to help you find something. Even if you've left already, like medicine's great. So don't give up.

[00:31:54] Jared: And I guess talking about just like the work-life balance that you've mentioned before, I think especially physicians are notorious for not really having a work-life balance. And maybe what is also some advice you could have for physicians that are looking to just, try to live, more like the everyday person, closer to it.

[00:32:11] Lara: Yeah. The big thing is knowing what's important to you. If spending time with your kids is important to you, you make that a priority. And then a big part of that is boundaries. We've been trained in medicine not to have boundaries.

We do what we're told. We work the 80 hours a week. We work a hundred hours, we take call in the middle of the night. Patients come first. But if you don't put yourself first, then you're gonna leave medicine and then your patients won't have any doctor. So know what's important to you.

Create a plan. You don't have to get too perfect, you just start with what you can do. But decide what boundaries you wanna set. Make sure you're okay with saying no. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and do it. Set those boundaries and live your life. You get one life.

[00:32:56] Jared: Exactly. Live, laugh, love as my girlfriend.

Exactly. And for the physicians that are listening and how can they, reach out to you if they want to get in touch with your services and set something up with you.

[00:33:09] Lara: The best way to get in touch with me is through my website. The website is www.happydayhealth.co.

I do have the jobs that I'm actively working on there, but there are many others if you don't see what you're looking for, let me know. And new jobs also pop up all the time, so sometimes when I'm in touch with the doc and know what they want before I've even put it on the website, I'll reach out to them.

So definitely reach out for me. Don't wait until the right opportunity comes up, just let me know what you're interested in and I'll let you know when that comes up. So yeah, website's the best way. I'm on LinkedIn, Laura Hochman, MD, I'm linked to this talk. So this is me.

Yep. And yeah, I have some videos on YouTube. My handle is that, what we call it is at Medical Matchmaker or the Medical Matchmaker. Either way, if you search for Laura Hochman with Happy Day Health, I'll come up. So yeah, please do get in touch with me. I'd love to help you out.

[00:33:59] Jared: Wonderful. And on that note, just thank you so much for the work that you do, Dr. Hochman, and thank you for joining us today. We appreciate your time. And yeah, just everybody you know that was here as well. Thank you so much and have a wonderful week, everybody. We really appreciate it.

[00:34:12] Lara: Thanks for having me.

[00:34:13] Ty: Such a pleasure to talk to you, Dr. Hochman.