Blog | Monday, June 3, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Half of doctors holding out against hospital-owned practices

Nearly half of physicians said they would not consider a hospital-owned practice model, while 40% are already in one and the remaining 10% are considering or already making the transition, a reader poll found.

Many physicians are leaving private practice and turning to large health systems to give them breathing room to care for their patients and restore work-life balance, ACP Internist reported in its May issue.

The article cited a consulting firm's survey that indicated the number of independent physicians in the U.S. fell from 57% in 2000 to 39%. The firm predicts a further decrease, down to 36%, by the end of this year. Costs of running a business and the demands of using an electronic health record were a main reason for leaving private practice.

Respondents to an online survey conducted last month asked readers to describe their status, and the split was nearly 50-50 for those refusing to join a hospital-owned model versus those who did or would.

For those considering the option, the article outlines key factors to consider:
--Make sure the acquiring organization's culture is conducive to good medical practice.
--Know the true value of a practice and don't sell it short.
--Be flexible about adapting to an electronic health record.
--Preserve existing staffing to avoid losing institutional memory.
--Communicate the change to patients up-front to avoid glitches down the line.