Board Certified Otolaryngologist Miguel A. Rivera, M.D. graduated from the University of Nevada School of Medicine and trained at the University of South Florida Department of Otolaryngology. Dr. Rivera’s interests lie in pediatric E.N.T., thyroid surgery, allergy, and sinus surgery, including in-office balloon sinus dilation.
How long have you lived in the Tampa Bay area?
I graduated High School from Hillsborough High School and returned to Tampa for Otolaryngology residency training at the University of South Florida after seven years of U.S. Air Force service and four years of medical school at the University of Nevada.
What is your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant?
La Casona. They serve delicious Puerto Rican cuisine, but never as good as my mother’s cooking.
Where is your favorite place in Tampa Bay to relax?
I relax when fishing in the intercostal waters of the Bay area. It takes me away from the daily indoor routines to enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds us.
How important is it for physicians to be involved with their communities and how important is it to you personally?
I believe that physicians should be an important member of the local and medical community. We are very busy professionals who can get inundated with medical responsibilities. We have enough work to stay busy 24/7 and have to make time to spend with our families and friends. I’m personally involved with the Judeo Christian Clinic for medical treatment for those in financial distress, I take care of the veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, I teach Otolaryngology residents from the University of South Florida, I’m past president of the Florida Society of Otolaryngology, and despite all that together with a very busy private practice, I find time to spend with my children in their volleyball and little league baseball activities.
What is the Select Physicians Alliance (SPA) and what role do you currently hold there?
Select Physicians Alliance is the consolidation of 11 different Otolaryngology practices throughout the Tampa Bay Area. We have been together and I have served as the President of SPA for nearly 4 years.
Why and how was the SPA formed?
Otolaryngology is a very demanding specialty. We cover any head and neck complications and life threatening airway emergencies in most local major medical facilities. This requires us to be immediately available while continuing to care for our patients in our busy practices. The long hours and the stressful complicated cases that we deal with take a toll on our quality of life. We treat from the neonates to the very old for complex ear diseases, sinusitis, allergies, voice changes, head and neck cancers, facial fractures, facial plastics, trouble swallowing, thyroid and parathyroid diseases, sleep apnea, chronic tonsillitis, and many dermatologic abnormalities of the head and neck. We decided to come together to provide a more comprehensive care to our community by combining our experienced and fellowship-trained physicians to handle the many subspecialties of Otolaryngology. We were also able to improve our quality of life by having more physicians share the responsibilities of the emergency room coverage.
What are the major benefits?
In addition to the improved quality of life and a more comprehensive Otolaryngology care, we were able to improve our malpractice fees, retirement program, electronic medical records, employment benefits, and hire a more experienced management team. The size of our group has received more considerations from insurance companies during negotiations. Many of our divisions have consolidated to a one practice model to increase ancillary service revenue and to decrease overhead cost per physician by maximizing utilization of space and staff. The government has been imposing new requirements in exchange of financial penalties. The management group at the CBO level has helped the many divisions of SPA to implement and meet requirements to receive meaningful use payments.
What have been your greatest challenges?
Physicians are intelligent, self-driven, and independent individuals that are trained to determine the best treatment options for patients based on data collected from the history taken, the physical examination, and the results from diagnostic testing and procedures. We make smarter decisions when the information is presented to us. The greatest challenge is to make sure all of the data is presented to our physicians before making major decisions. We have been able to do this before and after our consolidation. Over 98% of our simple and complex decisions have been voted unanimously as a result of our due diligence in each topic of discussion.
How do individual physicians or running practices join the SPA?
Our initial group is made up of Otolaryngologist, but we named it SPA in order to accommodate other specialist groups with treatment commonalities with us. Some of those specialties include allergists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, and some plastic surgeons. For more information, anyone can call 813-571-7184 to speak with our Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Sheryl Watts.
It seems that most of the practices in the alliance are ENT or Cosmetic Surgery practices. Is that for a reason and if so why?
It was much easier to initially come together with a single specialty and then proceed with others as we grow and opportunities come up.
Where do you see the SPA five years from now and do you believe this is the future of private practice medicine and why?
I see SPA as a consolidated practice composed of multiple specialists with common treatment modalities. I also see most physicians joining large physician practices to gain the benefits I mentioned earlier.
Knowing yourself: If you could go back in time and provide your younger self advice, what would it be?
I would have recommended to always ask more questions until I was comfortably clear in any subject. We can’t know it all and especially at a younger age, but I was guilty of not clarifying many issues because I wanted to figure it out on my own. I now understand that success is the result of hard work, opportunity, and being surrounded by great people with extensive experience to give the proper advice for the right decisions.