Dr. Ryan Molli on swinging the pendulum back to private practice

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Ryan Molli, DO, said he hopes more orthopedic surgeons will lean into private practice in the future.

Dr. Molli, founder and CEO of Whole Health Orthopedic Institute in Meadville, Pa., discussed his journey into private practice and what young orthopedic surgeons should know.

Note: This conversation was lightly edited for clarity.

Question: Can you tell me what you're most proud of from this past year?

Dr. Ryan Molli: It would say it's the growth of our practice. I started my private practice in 2018 from scratch and started out with 14 employees. We are now the sole owner and have well over 30 employees. It was myself when I first started, and now we have five orthopedic surgeons and five [advanced practice] providers.

Q: A lot of independent orthopedic practices have considered consolidation. What strategies have helped your practice thrive on its own?

RM: Around April 2020, I left an acute care hospital, and I partnered and became a physician owner at a physician-owned surgical hospital. That partnership has really blossomed over the past three and a half years. All of our surgeons are now operating there, and we've been able to take 100% of our cases out of standard acute care hospitals. We have 10 inpatient beds, and it's nice that we have the ability to keep our patients overnight if need be. But still, 95% of our patients are going home the same day with joint replacements.

Q: Can you talk about some of the biggest trends that you've been following in health care lately?

RM: I'm disappointed that the pendulum has swung so far toward hospital employment, and one of my main goals is to swing that back toward private practice and hopefully encourage young orthopedic surgeons that it is very possible to start private practices and thrive. It's all about partnerships and making sure that you're creating the ultimate patient experience. I truly believe if you put your patient's experiences and needs and desires first, the rewards will come.

Q: What advice would you have for experienced orthopedic surgeons to best set things up well for younger surgeons to help swing that pendulum back?

RM: In my area, we're the last private practice in Northwest Pennsylvania, and the physicians that sold to the hospitals are now extremely dissatisfied and wishing and regretting those decisions. I would say don't make quick decisions based upon pressures from hospitals and institutions. Try to maintain your independence as much as possible, and reach out to those around that have been able to successfully navigate the waters of private practice and maybe look to partner with them as well.

Q: What are you excited for in 2024? 

RM: I started a podcast about three and a half months ago, and I'm starting a second podcast with one of my good buddies. It's called "Red Carpet Healthcare Solutions," and it is essentially the vehicle upon which I'm trying to help swing that pendulum back. We'll have monthly podcasts that will bring different guests from different areas of the country and the world that are in the private practice setting, or maybe physician-owned hospitals or ASCs to really give young physicians the opportunity, knowledge and hopefully the confidence that they can move to private practice.

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