The Disenfranchised Physician—A Counterexample
By Bob Sweeney
August 16, 2020
Several respondents to this blog series have asked me for examples of how individual physicians have successfully responded to the current environment of disenfranchisement. I could cite many cases, but one of the more salient examples is my colleague and associate Jeffery Gubbels, MD, CPE, CMQ, FACOG.
It’s easy enough to find Jeff and his credentials/background on the internet. But his impressive resume doesn’t mean he’s been able to avoid the fallout of a health care environment driven by the forces of consolidation and corporate medicine. To the point, Jeff spent nearly eight years in progressive leadership roles in a major Texas hospital system, culminating as the chief medical officer and an interim CEO. He managed every aspect of medical operations for an organization the size of a Fortune 500 company. No one ever questioned his competency. However, forces beyond his control came to bear when the hospital system announced its forthcoming merger with another system in 2019 and, for undisclosed reasons, the merger failed to occur. The game of C suite musical chairs began and at the end of the day, Jeff was “out of work”. This disenfranchisement, although not directed at him personally, could have had a devastating effect on Jeff’s professional life and personal psychology.
But that is not Jeff! Within six months, his proactive decisions created a new and even more promising set of options. First, he founded his own consulting company to advise other senior administrative physicians and medical groups on how to deal with the changing health care environment. More or less simultaneously, Jeff was engaged as a Chief Physician for the Houston Health Department, right on the eve of the pandemic. He also became a founding Director and equity partner in a real estate group acquiring assisted living centers. Finally, he became an investor and advisor to a physician-driven venture capital fund and a nutraceutical beverage startup.
You might say that Jeff has a background which armed him to better contend with dramatic institutional changes in medicine. Perhaps, but it still takes patience, commitment and courage to take on new roles in the face of adversity. If you ask him why he has been able to land on his feet professionally, he’d probably tell you that it takes a willingness to accept rejection and to persevere. Plus you’ve got to have a plan. But why not ask him yourself at email@example.com?
Bob Sweeney, Principal & Managing Partner
Global Health Impact Fund LLC