'The secret sauce' behind Georgia Urology's physician hiring and success

Twenty-four physicians from Atlanta-based Georgia Urology have been recognized as some of the state's top, practicing physicians — accounting for nearly 40 percent of the entire 'best of' list, according to a July 11 news release.

The physician-owned and operated practice has 25 locations and seven ambulatory surgery centers in the region and employs more than 80 providers. The practice has purposely chosen to operate without hospital ownership or academic oversight, allowing physician leadership to be at the forefront. 

"The secret sauce is about opportunity," Hal Scherz, MD, president and managing director of Georgia Urology told Becker's. "We recruit doctors and present to them what their lives may look like if they are willing to bet on themselves. Graduating residents or fellows are told that they have four choices — three of which will mean that they work for someone else who ultimately is their boss and to whom they are answerable — a university, a hospital or a group that is owned and run by a New York or Chicago-based private equity group. We on the other hand give young doctors an opportunity to build a practice and if successful, and they almost always are, to be an equal partner to everyone."

Dr. Scherz was also one of the 24 physicians from the practice to be named to the list from the practice.

Specific hiring focuses implemented by Georgia Urology are what have also led it to the abundance of physician success, it claims. 

"About five years ago, I took over recruiting new doctors for this practice," said Carl Capelouto, MD, one of the physicians named to the list. "I felt we were not doing a very good job of attracting viable candidates. The doctors we hired were excellent, but we were increasingly coming up against the wall where doctors were retiring quicker than we were able to replace them. We were not doing a very good job of selling our strengths."

Dr. Capelouto told Becker's he focuses on five key principles to ensure a candidate will fit within the culture when hiring new physicians: 

  1. Personality — Rather than charm or charisma, Dr. Capelouto seeks physicians who clearly demonstrate "a burning desire to be successful," something he says that can't be taught, but is instilled in someone decades prior.

  2. Team Players — With around 80 physicians at the Georgia Urology practice, teamwork and collaboration are important to moving the needle meaningfully and understanding everyone plays a role in success. "I abhor lone wolves," he said.

  3. Destiny Control — "Our physician leadership had been united in staying independent," Dr. Capelouto said "Our physicians are expected to become partners and take on the risks and benefits of ownership and nurture the most important thing they will ever own. If the doc has no desire to be a partner, we are probably not the right group for [them].
  4. Reach and Mentorship — Georgia Urology also places a priority on sharing expertise, knowledge and mentoring newly hired physicians, which also provides patients with the region, geographic, medical and professional expertise of the entire team, he explained.

"Our practice is constantly evolving, but we always remain committed to providing the best possible care for our patients, while also providing the best working environment for our providers and staff," Dr. Capelouto said. 

The annual rankings are curated by Atlanta magazine from a roster of physicians who are selected by Professional Research Service, which conducts a peer-driven survey reviewing physicians in the Atlanta region.

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