South Florida Hospital News
Sunday September 22, 2019
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November 2006 - Volume 3 - Issue 5

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Making the Move

Family practice physician finds opportunities, challenges in relocating

Relocating to a new city is difficult for anyone. But for a physician relocating his family and practice at the same time, it can be even more challenging.

Dr. Robert Cohen, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA, decided to make the leap three months ago. After 23 years of living in the Keystone State, he and his family moved to Delray Beach, FL where he opened Cohen Medical Associates.

"Moving here was probably the most difficult thing Iíve ever done," said Dr. Cohen, who grew up in Beaver Falls, PA. "I lived in Iowa for a brief period of time, but that was the only time I ever spent away from Pennsylvania. I did my internship and residency in Pittsburgh, and Iíd established a very busy practice there. Starting over was not an easy thing to do."

Dr. Cohen decided to move to Florida after realizing that the time was right for a big life change. "I always saw myself retiring to Florida, but I didnít want to wait to live here," he said. "My wife was ready to move, my daughter had graduated college and my son had graduated high school. My other son was starting ninth grade, so it seemed like the right transition time for everyone."

Still, moving all the way down the East Coast wasnít easy. "I had no idea how physically exhausting it would be to go through every item we owned," said Dr. Cohen. "It involves a tremendous amount of time to go through mementos, furnitureÖeverything."

Dr. Cohen also had a Ďless than favorableí experience with his moving company. "We didnít get moved into the house until 1 a.m.," said Cohen. "I can tell you for sure that it was my last moveónow that I know how hard it is, Iíll never do it again."

Once in Florida, Dr. Cohen moved his practice into a 4,100-sq. ft. office located in Delray Beach with the goal of establishing a practice for four doctors. "I didnít want to outgrow the space within a year," he explained. "Weíre starting to get busy already."

The office, where Dr. Cohen specializes in family practice and internal medicine with an emphasis on geriatric care, features its own state-certified lab. "Patients can come in for testing, and can have their results before they leave," he said. The office also features a bone density scanner and an EMR (Electric Medical Records) system.

"We donít use charts anymore," said Dr. Cohen. "Everyone here has laptops, and they can recall the information they need at the touch of a button. The EMR system also automatically sends a letter to patients who need annual physicals, blood work, colonoscopies or other appointments."

During his last 10 years in Pittsburgh, Dr. Cohen worked for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which made hiring his new staff more of a challenge. "The hiring at my old practice was always done through the university," he said. "Here, I had to start from scratch. I thought that I should put an ad in the newspaper, but then realized that a lot of jobs are now listed on the Internet. I learned a lot about careerbuilders.com and monster.com. It was a real education."

With privileges at Delray Medical Center and Boca Raton Community Hospital, Dr. Cohen began building his practice through networking. "I didnít know a soul when I moved here, so once I got on staff at the hospitals, I worked in the ER a couple times a month, and that allowed me to meet various specialists," he said. "Now there are a number of doctors referring patients to me on a regular basis."

As Dr. Cohen settles into his new home and growing practice, he says he knows he made the right decision. "Though I work hard, I always feel like Iím on vacation here," he said. "I love the blue skies, sunshine, palm trees and the beach. I like the laid-back lifestyle."

"My advice to anyone thinking about relocating is to follow your dreams," he added. "If youíre thinking about it, do it. Youíll always regret it if you donít."

Dr. Cohen can be reached at Cohen Medical Associates by calling (561) 496-7200.
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