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Meet Dr. Lowell Weil, Jr. of Weil Foot & Ankle Institute

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Lowell Weil, Jr.

Please kick things off for us, where does this story begin?

Dr. Lowell Weil, Sr. started our organization in 1965. At the time, Podiatry was not considered mainstream medicine. Lowell, Sr. was at the forefront in advancements in Podiatry and foot and ankle surgery. He invented many surgical procedures over the years that are now utilized worldwide as the standard of care. He became known as the Podiatrist of the Stars in Chicago, treating many famous people including the Mayor, Anne Landers, Jerry Garcia, and professional athletes. He served as the Team Podiatrist for the Chicago Bears from the early 1970’s until the late 1990’s and treated among others, Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Dan Hampton and Mike Ditka. He has been the Team Podiatrist for the Chicago White Sox since the 1980’s. During his Hall of Fame Induction Speech, Frank Thomas mentioned Dr. Weil, Sr. as part of how he got there. Lowell, Sr. also consulted for the Chicago Bulls and was on the medical staff for the 1980 Olympic Gymnastics Team that boycotted the Moscow Games. Through his compassionate and innovative care, Lowell Sr. is a legend in the community.

My wife, Dr. Wendy Benton-Weil and I joined the practice in 1996 after completing our residency training in Philadelphia and Fellowship in Europe. Dr. Tony Borrelli had been part time in the practice until then and then came on full time.

In 1998, I decided to attend Business School and completed my MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. With that education in hand, we decided to start growing our business in Chicagoland by acquiring practices. We offered doctors better systems and treatment methodology which enhanced their ability to provide top end care. Over the ensuing years, we continued to grow slowly and expand our geographic reach in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago. In 2007, Dr. Gregory Amarantos merged his substantial practice into ours and added three locations and further geographic reach. We then set out to grow more aggressively.

We now have nearly 30 physicians and 22 locations in the Chicagoland area including Southern Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana.

We also manage practices in Dallas, Maryland and Virginia.

We have over 170 employees.

We are known nationally as the premier Podiatric group in the world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It is never a smooth road. We have faced many challenges, especially with health care. Health care changes are always challenging. Today, medical practices have to employ more people to collect less money. Many practices are not able to adapt and fall into a substantial hole they cannot recover which leads to physician burn out. We have always tried to be innovative and at the forefront of opportunities and anticipate the changes. If you are not evolving, you are being left behind.

Other challenges have been hospitals acquiring many primary care physicians who often referred patients to us. Once acquired, those physicians were required to keep patients within the system and not referred out. As a result, we had to find alternative routes for patient/customer acquisition. We have had to increase our marketing budget and hire people to reach out to independent physicians to educate them about what we offer and why their patients will be better cared for by us. We have also focused on Internet marketing which has been so important in the last 5 years.

We have always been ahead of most medical practices with our use of computerization. We have been essentially paperless for more than 15 years and used computers in our organization for over 30 years. We have the latest and best computer technology for medical records, x-rays, MRI, etc….but with all of that comes a substantial investment and cost.

Growing has also been difficult at times, both internally and externally. Many physicians are reluctant to give up their autonomy to join a larger group. However, when people join us, their patient care improves and their lifestyle improves, without fail. Internally, growth and developing the infrastructure can be challenging. Little business, little problems. Big Business, big problems.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Weil Foot & Ankle Institute – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Weil Foot & Ankle Institute is a multiplication medical practice providing podiatric/foot and ankle care. We provide the Chicagoland with the premier foot and ankle care. We provide all aspects of care from conservative non-invasive care to the most advanced surgical procedures needed to solve the patients’ problems. We pride ourselves on one-stop shopping whereby a patient can get all aspects of care within our facility from diagnosis, treatments, MRI, Physical Therapy, Surgical Centers, medical Retail offerings, insurance covered devices like custom shoes, custom orthotics, custom braces. We also have the latest and most innovative treatment options.

We have historically been known for our advancements in treatment modalities, including surgical procedures. We are leaders in developing new and cutting edge procedures that reduce patient recovery time and improves results. We have always been among the most active group in the country performing research and publications on the treatment we perform which allows us to assess and improve for our patients benefits.

We have also been known as an education center with physicians from around the world visiting us to learn our techniques. We are actively involved in the education of the next generation of foot and ankle surgeons, as physicians from our group are actively involved or run four residency programs in Chicago. We have a Fellowship which is considered among the best in the country as well.

Many of our physicians are well known lectures and lecture around the world on innovative surgical procedures.

I am most proud that Weil Foot & Ankle Institute has contributed to the huge advancement and improvement of patient care in the area of the foot and ankle. No other practice has done as much. I am also proud that we support over 170 families who work for our organization. It makes me happy that those people can have a great job, helping people while supporting their families.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our future plans are to continue growing in Chicagoland and nationwide. Creating a larger organization will provide more people with unique and premier foot and ankle care. Our organization is set up to help doctors who join us the ability to focus on patient care while we deal with the intricacies and difficulties of running a medical business. By allowing physicians to be physicians, they get back to doing what they love and patient care improves while job satisfaction increases. In becoming a larger organization, we can utilize economies of scale, purchasing power and uniform clinical guidelines to provide less expensive and higher quality care.

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