Doctored Up

July 28, 2023

Changes at Pediatric Affiliates Are an Expansion of a Familiar Model

Elisheva Braun

With 45 and 35 years of pediatric medicine under their respective belts, Drs. Reuven Shanik and Ira Haimowitz of Pediatric Affiliates are an essential piece of Lakewood’s history and present-day landscape.

“Dr. Shanik and I are proud of what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve brought to the community over the years,” says Dr. Haimowitz.

The landmark is now undergoing changes with investors taking a percentage of ownership.

Who will determine policy? Will medical practices change? Can we expect the same level of care?

These and other questions are common when investors join a practice.

Dr. Haimowitz is unequivocal in his response.

“Our partners are firm believers in a physician-led practice. The main reason for our choosing this particular investor was to ensure that Dr. Shanik and I would maintain full autonomy in the daily decision making of the practice. The investor’s main function in this partnership is to provide financial capital and guidance to help successfully fulfill the vision of growth that we share. Anyone walking into any of our six offices today would quickly realize that absolutely nothing has changed in the daily operational procedures of the practice. We continue to provide the same high quality of care that our patients have always come to expect.” 

Bigger and better

Lacking the funds to bring their practice to a national level, Dr. Shanik and Dr. Haimowitz brought on a third party.

“We partnered with a world-renowned private-equity firm that specializes in health care. Although we are their foundational pediatric practice, the company has successfully partnered with other medical-specialty practices, including those in retina eye care, cardiology, and behavioral health.”

Although the practice aims to open branches across the nation, its growth process will start regionally.

“Our first new location will be in Jackson. We also plan to soon expand our existing River Avenue location by fifty percent and increase hours and accessibility at our Brick office,” says Dr. Haimowitz.

Tears amid turnover

“We have experienced a turnover in some of our practitioners,” the doctor shares. “Local competition heard about the changes coming and utilized the opportunity to pursue some of our practitioners—all of whom have stellar reputations.

“Our practitioners were not at all unhappy at Pediatric Affiliates—some even cried as they left. They made the move purely for financial purposes.

“Instead of entering a bidding war with the competition, one that would not be fair to our remaining staff, we have replaced the practitioners we lost with new ones, who we strongly feel will continue to provide the highest level of care under the continued and always present guidance of Dr. Shanik and myself.”

Spreading high standards of care

His passion is evident as Dr. Haimowitz describes the current state of health care in the nation.

“There are parts of the region and the country that are not providing an adequate level of care. Overall, the standard of care in pediatrics is quite abysmal. The use of emergency rooms as a primary form of health care is commonplace in many areas. This offers no proper continuity of care and carries many risks.

“We want to see better health care across the country. We strongly feel that spreading our current model across the country can make a huge difference in the landscape of pediatric medicine. We can make a real difference.”

The Pediatric Affiliates standard is straightforward: its leaders believe that accessibility is king.

“Other practices are open from nine to five. If you have an emergency after business hours, you’re expected to call 911. But children don’t always get sick between the hours of nine and five. Our model is accessibility seven days and nights a week. We have 24/7 practitioner coverage so that when a patient calls at two in the morning, they can speak directly to a member of the Pediatric Affiliates medical staff.”

Pediatric Affiliates ensures that its practitioners possess the highest level of medical knowledge.

“We insist that physicians, Pas and NPs maintain their CMEs (continuing medical education). We also bring in medical professionals from hospitals to educate our staff about various areas of specialty care. We go above and beyond to ensure that our care is second to none.”

In it for the long run

“Dr. Shanik and I are not going anywhere; we are still equity holders in the practice. In fact, we partnered with our investors with the contractual agreement that we’re in it for the long run,” says Dr. Haimowitz.

“The last rumor I heard was that Dr. Shanik and I are moving to Eretz Yisroel,” he adds, laughing. “There’s a lot of speculation out there, but our patients need to know that Dr. Shanik and I are not going anywhere. We are here today, tomorrow, and with Hashem’s help for many years to come. We look forward to a bright future of improved health care for everyone.”