John Zuorski, MD
President of John Muir Medical Group
I decided I wanted to be a doctor at age 13. I went to high school in Costa Mesa (Southern California), and then went to UCLA with the misguided idea that it would make it easier to get into their medical school later. Well, that wasn't true, so I went to UCSF for med school and did my residency at University of Pittsburgh, which was one of the few primary care programs at that time. Then I took an unusual path and taught at UC for 10 years from 1980 to 1990.
I know that there is a perception that doctor's remuneration in California was lower than most places. We've worked hard to build an organization that makes California a great place to practice and be successful economically. We do this through our focus on the quality of people here--quality people attract more quality people. These people, in turn, help us turn the tide. Can I in good conscience tell young doctors that things have changed? The answer is yes. In fact, our group did better financially than the majority of the doctors in the nation.
We have doctors who choose lifestyle and earn less money, and others who work like crazy and earn a lot of money. The reasons for a doctor to be in this group has entirely to do with his or her personality as a physician. We don't do it like others who line up appointments and tell you what to do. You just show up.
Within limits we let you choose how you schedule, how you practice, and, after you become a partner, you are paid based on productivity. When you choose how you schedule, you control both your finances and how you practice medicine. My partner used to do 30 minute physicals. I needed 50 minutes. That's what I had to do to be happy doing what I do, but I also have to be willing to earn less money in order to have that flexibility.
We look for doctors who want to build and nourish and flourish with us over the years. The reward of our work is that we get to see a patient 10 years after they were told they had one year to live. You just cannot beat that feeling. In fact, recently I was in Nepal and was on a monument in Pokhara with three Dutch medical students, one of which was not sure she wanted to continue as a physician. I told them that the last patient I saw before leaving said to me, "Oh, Doc. Have a great trip. And by the way, thanks for saving my life."
I believe that our group is doing well because of three things.
- We are a quality system that had money to invest in new, cutting edge technologies.
- We are an inclusive organization. When we sit down, it's the whole system sitting down at once. Doctors don't fight doctors, our community is unified.
- We have mustered advantageous contracting ability.
We've got a very congenial specialty atmosphere where if you want to call and ask a question, the specialists are all busy so they are happy to answer.
The quality of our people is outstanding. People of quality attract people of quality. We have great hospitalists and a wonderful trauma staff, which keeps it much safer for all of our patients. If you want to show up anywhere in the Bay Area in the middle of the night, it's here or San Francisco General.
In the end, I think we're right for someone who wants to see patients their way, and practice good medicine. We're interested in people who want to be good doctors. And, best of all, we've become so established that the prestige that comes with being associated with our group helps our doctors to build their practices. That makes me proud.
My pitch, in summary, is that this is a wonderful area to in which to live, there is no personal pastime that you can't pursue here. On top of that, John Muir Health is high quality. As high quality as there is. Really, you can't find a place with a more quality-oriented practice of medicine. So, it boils down to an economic perception. If you thought you couldn't come here for financial reasons, we've fixed the problem, and we offer so much more.