Lake Mary Pediatrics
LAKE MARY - Miles Landis has been in private pediatrics practice for 28 years, so he has adapted to many changes in the healthcare industry. But there are some trends that concern him now because they threaten the fundamental relationship between patients and physicians.
“Everything now is outcome-measured. Are the asthmatics getting their pulmonary function tests as directed? Are the diabetics getting their blood tests at the right times?” Landis said, using only a couple of examples common in primary care. “That is all very important. But as far as patient interaction with the physician and happiness and attentiveness by the physician to the patient’s global needs, that is not something easily measurable or that we’ve even been asked to measure,” said Landis, 60.
To maintain that connection with his patients, Landis and his colleagues at Lake Mary Pediatrics “still make our own rounds at the hospitals, which is very much a dying art in the primary care business,” he said. “We still see our own newborns and our own inpatients at the hospitals,” rather than using hospitalists, he said. “We want to keep that continuity,” whether it is at Orlando Health or Florida Hospital facilities, he said.
Landis said he and others in his practice “have been on the other side of that hospital bed and we realize how important it is for a familiar face to pop their head in the door in the morning or evening. It’s extremely important. You want to keep that interaction going despite the fact there are pressures now not to have to do it, or even dissuade you from doing it,” he said. “I want to continue to practice pediatrics long enough to see that patient care is not sacrificed at the expense of the more global changes in the healthcare field.”
Landis’ patients appear to be into his outlook. He founded Lake Mary Pediatrics in 1988, when Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital was just opening up in Orlando, he said, “and I recognized the potential for excellent pediatric care coverage.”
Landis now serves as senior partner and medical director for the practice, which has grown to about 50 employees, including six full-time and two part-time physicians, four Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and a physician assistant. Lake Mary Pediatrics now has three locations: Lake Mary, Orange City and College Park.
Landis’ approach to patient care is fundamental. “First, listen closely to the parent. They many not know, but they are actually telling you what’s wrong with the child. The other thing is just talk with the children. I don’t care if they are just 2 years old. It sounds so easy and so simple, but a lot of people don’t do it. If you do, you will be in a better position to help the children and the parents,” he said.
Landis also is involved “in many clinical trials, but it is the trials concerning children with autism that capture my greatest interest,” he said. “Many of these trials last for extended periods of time and I am able to get to know the children in a way that regular office visits would not allow. The first crying, scared, non-communicative patient often becomes a happy, smiling and sometimes talkative child when familiarity sets in,” Landis explained.
Landis’ interest in becoming a physician goes back to his childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y His father, Victor, an attorney for the New York Supreme Court, died of a heart attack when he was just 44 years old. Landis was 13 and it impacted him greatly. “The greatest challenge of my life was the loss of my father … and the great economic difficulties that followed. Hard work, a strong sense of purpose and a strong family support system helped me overcome these challenges,” he said. He has a sister, Ilissa, who is 10 years younger and he was integral in her upbringing, he said.
“I didn't have much time in high school for many after- school activities. I worked in many odd jobs, from pedaling a large ice cream tricycle, to a ladies undergarment salesman,” which was “not my first choice in that department store,” he quipped.
“But I was always extremely interested in all the sciences, particularly medicine and astronomy. I had my first telescope at age 7, but the Brooklyn sky was somewhat limiting in what deep space objects I could view though from my apartment on the 21st floor. … I dabbled with chemistry sets and often visited the butcher shop to dissect the organs they were happy to sell me. I had a fetal pig delivered to my apartment and had the unusual hobby of preparing microscope slides of my dissected specimens using a hand microtome. I was strongly encouraged by my family and teachers,” he said.
So, when Landis enrolled at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., in 1972 to study biology, and then was accepted to medical school at the University of Buffalo, no one was surprised. “I am a child at heart and the choice of pediatrics was a natural one,” said Landis, who completed his internship and residency at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He spent two years in private practice in New Jersey before putting down roots in the Orlando area.
Accompanying him was his high school sweetheart, Kate. He was 18 and she was 16 when they met, and have shared 35 years of marriage as they parented four children. Eldest daughter Victoria is a pediatric speech therapist married to a hematologist-oncologist. Erica is entering a post-graduate program in Interpersonal Communication. And identical twin sons Michael and Ian are graduating from college this year and wish to pursue careers in medicine, Landis said. “We’re a pretty tight-knit family. They all attended (the University of Central Florida) and stayed around. We still tend to do things as a family.”
The same hands-on attitude Landis uses at work is a cornerstone at home. “I prefer to do odd jobs around the house,” he said. “If I’m off work I’m doing something around the house and getting my hands dirty. I’m not the type to see something wrong in the house and say ‘We better call someone to fix that.’ I do my best to fix it myself. The results sometimes are not there, but I give it the old college try,” he laughed.
When he has time, Landis also dabbles in a flower garden and enjoys eating eastern European Jewish foods comfort foods like stuffed cabbage and blintzes. “It brings me back to my childhood and memories of the smells emanating from my grandmother’s apartment,” he said.
And, in another throwback to the childhood of this successful children’s doctor, Landis said he has a new telescope for his older eyes. “It allows me to gaze at the same heavens I saw as a child, but with much better clarity.”