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A Clinician’s Perspective: Life & Work as an MD in the West Virginia

We recently spoke with Dr. Michael Sitler, TeamHealth regional medical director (RMD) in West Virginia, about working with TeamHealth and LifePoint Health, and about the community he lives in and serves.

TeamHealth: What do you enjoy most about your role at TeamHealth?

Dr. Sitler: What I enjoy most about the position is that TeamHealth has given me tremendous support and resources that other groups or smaller hospitals cannot provide. When I think about my career, I’ve worked in large tertiary centers down to critical access hospitals. When I have needed advice or expertise in things that physicians are not familiar with, I have a subject matter expert in nearly EVERYTHING at my disposal. It has been amazing.

Like every organization, I quickly learned that the strength of the operation is all about people. I have been so impressed by the people that I have had the honor to work alongside in this organization. Ultimately, we chose a career in medicine and focus on providing the best care to our patients and communities. What we don’t see is the “how” and all of the efforts that support our practices. I have been privileged to see the “how” and “why.”  When I think about what I enjoy most about my position at TeamHealth, I always look back at my previous experiences as a physician and see the opportunities and support TeamHealth provides versus where I worked previously. There is no comparison.

I came to TeamHealth through the merger and acquisition of a physician-owned group about four years ago called Premier. We had a small leadership team, about 500 physicians in that regional group. What I learned quickly is that there’s an incredible infrastructure of support resources at TeamHealth that I don’t think are comparable to anyone in the industry. What I find amazing is that when I have a question about something in leadership like human resource issues, finance, risk mitigation, risk management or any number of topics, TeamHealth has a subject matter expert.

TeamHealth: Tell me a little bit about the community you serve. The Raleigh/Charleston area or just West Virginia at large. What do you love most about the area?

Dr. Sitler: To give a little back-story, the community of Beckley, West Virginia was the fourth largest city in West Virginia when coal was king. We’ve suffered population decline just over the years in attrition, but what I enjoy the most about working in Beckley are the people that you serve are genuinely appreciative of healthcare. I think they’re very respectful of clinicians and respect decisions that are involved and the care you’re providing them.

The facility itself has a robust medical community. It’s big enough to have specialists that you need, but not so big that it becomes impersonal in the workplace. I’ve worked in those facilities where it’s so big and broad that you’re sort of nameless or faceless, and that’s not the case in Beckley.

The area itself really has a lot of appeal. For outdoor enthusiasts, we have some of the best whitewater rivers in the world, so the New and Gauley rivers are the two main attractions in the area, roughly 25 to 30 minutes from Beckley. Mountain biking is also tremendously popular. Our area is just a gold mine for outdoor lovers, and it’s a fairly well-kept secret just because it’s around Fayetteville, West Virginia, a really cool, little town with specialty restaurants and craft breweries that have become somewhat a fun hippy haven akin to the appeal of Asheville, North Carolina.

TeamHealth: What would you say you like best about the TeamHealth culture or dynamic?

Dr. Sitler: TeamHealth provided an opportunity to stay in the hospital I’d worked in for most of my career, and advance in it. With TeamHealth, I’ve been treated with nothing but tremendous respect and support, and I’m surrounded by very bright people. The seamless part of TeamHealth comes from the incredible work and coordination of the people that are working behind the scenes. I get to see it every day in this job and it really makes me proud.

TeamHealth: What kind of opportunities can you see for a physician in your area through TeamHealth and LifePoint Health?

Dr. Sitler: For a physician that is new to clinical practice, whether you’re interested in travel medicine, clinical medicine, leadership or a specialty niche, TeamHealth has a place for you. You’ll be supported from initial contact with the recruiter, who truly wants to best support you to find happiness with your career. We want people to have a work/life balance and to work here for their entire career within the TeamHealth family. There are thousands of other opportunities for you at this company.

The other opportunity if you’re interested in leadership. TeamHealth puts a lot of effort and resources into leadership recruitment and development and particularly growing and promoting our own physicians from within. We have the Leadership Academy, Facility Medical Director to Be Academy and Coach Development Academy; and great mentors are available to guide you.

TeamHealth also supports professional interests. For example, I have a physician at one of the sites that really has a passion for addressing the opioid crisis. He is one of ten physicians across our company working on a task force that’s creating solutions and best practices to apply to all of our facilities to help combat this national crisis—and he’s working with a wonderful pool of talented, terrific people that are dedicated to finding solutions. To me, the opportunity to join a company like this is not just simply about working your ten shifts and going home.

TeamHealth has opportunities available across West Virginia! Join a team that supports you and recognizes your impact in providing excellent patient care. Not the right fit for you? TeamHealth has opportunities available nationwide!