Jason Pirozzolo, DO
When Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, conceived the IP Network, his peers paid attention.
After all, this is the guy who used the remainder of his student loan money to enroll in flight school on his first day of medical school, and now, as an instrument-rated single and multi-engine pilot who flies airplanes and helicopters and is type-rated to fly jets, travels to Tallahassee during legislative sessions to keep Florida lawmakers healthy.
He's also the guy who, when financial adversity struck hard while completing an externship program at Harvard Medical School, lived in his car. The strategic acquisition of a Cambridge Racquet and Fitness Club membership early on allowed him to shower at the gym and continue his education undetected. "No one knew the position I was in," he said.
That experience led Pirozzolo to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist while completing his internship and residency at Duke University.
It makes sense that overcoming adversity is why Pirozzolo pursued medicine. While competing in the New York State Free-Style Wrestling Championships, he landed in the hospital for the first time after fracturing his radial head.
"I remember sitting in a wheelchair waiting to get that initial X-ray, and I was taken aback by everything that was going on," he marveled. "From that point, I was hooked on medicine."
Creating the IP Network - an integrated network of independent physicians using proprietary technology to lower costs and improve patient quality -- was a natural next step for the industry advocate, who created a model that challenges the nation's flawed healthcare system. Over 1000 physicians have paid $150 each to join the corporate structured LLC, which prioritizes transparency and equality.
"I don't think there's any better way than to have every doctor own an equal share," he explained, adding that working with Florida Hospital and Orlando Health is an integral component to the program. "We can develop strategies and coordinate our systems in a way to share data."
Pirozzolo helped to devise the plan while working with orthopedic surgeon George White, MD, at Orlando Hand Surgery Associates, where Pirozzolo has specialized in non-surgical orthopedic sports medicine and trauma since 2011.
The best part of the IP Network, Pirozzolo pointed out, is that "patients see the continued affiliation with their independent doctors."
The successful business model has been well accepted by his colleagues, who elected him to the Board of Governors of the Florida Medical Association, vice president of the Integrated Independent Physicians Network, and a Florida delegate to the American Medical Association. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him vice chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. While serving in that position, he became the only board member in the nation to become certified in airport management, the same certification required by CEOs running airports such as LAX, JFK and ATL.
In 2016, Pirozzolo completed the Florida Hospital Physician Leader Development Course under his mentor General Mark Hertling.
"In Tallahassee, I'm able to work closely with the leadership of both the hospital and insurance industries," he said. "I understand their individual priorities, both from business and outcomes standpoints. All said, I spend every day in clinic listening to and learning from my patients. What interests me is bringing all these stakeholders together and helping educate our legislators on creative new policies that could benefit everyone and ultimately allow for a healthier and more sustainable healthcare system."