Brandon Faza, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM

FMA Member Physician highlight

Humanity in Healthcare

By Trent Batchelor, FMA Staff Writer

Brandon Faza, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM, was first attracted to the practice of medicine at a young age by observing his veterinarian father’s joy in taking care of animals, but more importantly, the scientific process behind diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Faza eventually parlayed this interest into becoming the first medical doctor in his family, “loving what my dad did but with people.”  

As a fifth-generation Tampanian, Dr. Faza comes from a family that is firmly rooted in Tampa, which further fuels his drive and determination to bring quality healthcare for all to his hometown.

“Tampa is a big city with a small town feel and the culture of Tampa runs deep,” he said.

Dr. Faza recently learned that his grandfather, Andres, was once CEO of the historic Centro Asturiano de Tampa Hospital, one of the most modern medical facilities at the time of its opening in 1928. It seems fitting that Dr. Faza would find himself working in the same arena as the medical director for GuideWell Emergency Doctors, overseeing six free-standing emergency departments and around 30 physicians in the Tampa area.

“I think we all tend to select different specialties based on our personalities and our interests,” Dr. Faza said when asked why he chose emergency medicine as his specialty. “We like the variety because you never know what a shift is going to be like or what you are going to see. It does, however, require a wide knowledge base and skill set so we are not masters of any one specialty. We are master jacks of all trades, and I love that.”

He said he also enjoys “being a bit of the ‘MacGyver’ in medicine,” referring to the classic TV series about an extremely resourceful troubleshooter.

“We don’t have this (particular) tool, but we can find a way to make these other tools that we do have work in a way that still takes care of the patient.” Dr. Faza believes that his specialty deals with the same primary challenge the entire healthcare system faces, and he finds it very disconcerting that emergency medical care has become so expensive.

The biggest challenge is figuring out how physicians can take care of patients who don't have financial resources in a manner that is equally effective and respectful. Despite some patients’ inability to pay, make appointments, or even secure a job that offers health insurance, “We still want to treat them in a way that honors their humanity equally with those who do have the resources.”

According to Dr. Faza, the GuideWell Emergency Doctors group has all the capabilities of a free-standing ER but bills as urgent care, which amounts to about one-third of the cost of a standard ER visit.

“I think we're sort of pushing the frontiers on what we can accomplish in patient care on an outpatient basis in a manner that is safe and effective,” he said. “We also keep a database of all of the medical practices in the area and have a call center, which sets up appointments for patients specifically for the purpose of ensuring they get a follow-up that they potentially wouldn't get otherwise from a hospital ER visit — all for an urgent care copay.”

Dr. Faza hopes this kind of care model eventually becomes widespread, and that he will be there to guide this brand-new model for emergency care for years in the future.

It is no surprise that Dr. Faza, as a member of the FMA, also understands that organized medicine plays an integral role in bringing Florida physicians together to advocate effectively for their patients. He finds the peer networking opportunities within organized medicine to be especially valuable.

“We all face the same challenges in taking care of our patients, so sharing and comparing notes — not just with people in our own specialty, but across all of medicine — keeps us up to speed with the latest trends of what's important in medicine and how to take care of our patients.”

Dr. Faza has met several physician members at FMA meetings and has been able to refer patients to them. He has had referrals sent to him as well. Those patients have gotten great care as a result of this reciprocative relationship between colleagues. “These are valuable and additional resources to make sure that our patients can get the care they need,” he said.

Advocacy is also of utmost importance for Dr. Faza, and this year will mark the second year that he has participated in the FMA House of Delegates as a delegate for the Hillsborough County Medical Association.

“I do not wish to become a pure politician; however, refusing to participate in politics at all would leave medicine without a voice,” he said. “If we do not stand up and speak for ourselves, for our patients, and for our profession, we will not have representation in critical forums, which can greatly affect our practices. If we don’t make sure the people who make the decisions have the right information, we may not be happy with the outcome.”

Through his involvement in this process, Dr. Faza hopes to become an effective advocate in all of the necessary forums so that he can help protect his physician colleagues and patients.

He also recognizes that there is an additional calling he must answer: As a participant in the FMA’s 2024 Karl M. Altenburger, MD, Physician Leadership Academy, Dr. Faza is honing his nonclinical leadership skills and becoming more involved in the fabric of organized medicine. He believes that there is a generation of physicians who have represented medicine well for some time, and someday there will be a need for younger clinicians to assume that burden. “Since I recently became medical director for GuideWell Emergency Doctors, I wanted to ensure that I have all the tools that I need to be an effective leader,” Dr. Faza said. “We have seen in the profession of medicine over the decades that if we don't provide leadership, then somebody is going to do it and it may not be somebody who makes decisions that are in our or our patients’ best interests. I realized that some of us need to step forward to help lead medicine.”

When Dr. Faza is not working to change the face of emergency room medical treatment, he considers himself a hobby mechanic — or, as he put it, “a weekend warrior with a Haynes manual” working on his childhood dream, a Dodge RAM SRT-10 truck. He also is a huge University of South Florida Bulls fan who goes out of his way to attend games and, as an alumnus, alumni board events.

Dr. Faza’s excitement and passion for his profession, patients, and colleagues is evident when he speaks of his affiliation with the GuideWell Emergency Doctors group and its care model, which he hopes will deliver high-quality care while making it affordable and accessible for all patients. It would be challenging to think of a nobler cause for one of the most noble professions.