My FM Story
Warren Brandle, MD, MS, FAAFP
When I finished high school, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. I joined the Air Force in 1971 and became a medical lab technician stationed in Europe. This sparked my interest in the science of medicine. After discharge, I moved to California to start college on the G.I. Bill and met my wife, Suzie. Over the next 14 years, we married, had three children, finished college and graduated medical school and residency.
During my first year of medical school at UC Davis, I thought I would become a clinical pathologist. Then, I met Joe Scherger. He was leading the newly formed family medicine interest group and encouraged me to become a family physician. He taught me about the satisfaction in caring for people throughout their lifetimes and the joy of the relationships that are developed.
After finishing all of my training at age 35, I was the medical director of several urgent care clinics in Sacramento for five years. I tired of the mundane and longed for the relationships of longitudinal care of generations.
I entered the brave new 1990s world of managed care, helping to build a multi-specialty medical group of more than 100 primary care physicians, in a closed model setting developed by a local health insurance company in Sacramento. Over the next five years, I grew a new practice with HMO patients of all ages and began to appreciate all of the joys of family medicine. Corporate mismanagement lead to the meltdown of our group, so I took my patients with me and started a solo practice.
For the past 20 years, my love for family medicine has endured. Our staff of eight has been with me for many years and we are like family. I am an entrepreneur, businessman, listener, scientist, old soul, diagnostician, healer, hand holder, friend, advocate and life coach. I thoroughly enjoy the autonomy of solo practice with no mid-level manager calculating my RBRVS data or advising me on the next corporate mandate. I set my own hours and take plenty of vacation time for travel and family adventures. Our patient satisfaction surveys are in the top 1% in the state. The support and respect for family medicine I have received from Hill Physicians Medical Group has allowed me to financially thrive through many turbulent years. Solo practice is not dead.
While I will continue to provide care and compassion to all of my patients for many years to come, priorities change and spending time with my family, especially with our two beloved granddaughters, has become a balancing force.
I am so honored to be a family physician. Our academy has been instrumental in representing the needs of our patients and members throughout my career. I am grateful for all of their support. Transitions, generations, cycles of life. Embrace it with a smile.