In a recent issue of Physician News Digest, the headline poses the question that has been gnawing at physicians, nation-wide; a question that potentially changes all circumstances, in which patient care will be provided.
The story is titled, “Will Hospital Employment Protect the Interests of Physicians?” It notes that, “according to a report released by The Center for Studying Health System’s Change, a Washington D.C.-based policy research firm, physician employment in hospitals has grown since 2007.” This growth is part of a greater strategy for hospital-physician alignment and increased service-line profits.
In a separate study, reported by Accenture, “the percentage of physicians who are in private practice, and truly independent, have been declining at 2 percent annually.” It adds that by 2013, this percentage will probably decline by 5 percent annually.
Physician employment opportunities have never really proved cut and dry, as the physician employment model has been ambiguous from the get go. Managed care, in the nineties, mostly focused on hospitals acquiring physicians through their advertised physician employment opportunities.
While hospital employment is resurfacing, so much so, that it is considered a leading trend in health care, the article points out that today’s version is an altered one.
Some reasons prompting men and women, who once managed their owned private practices, to consider hospital employment include: illuminating risks and challenges associated with managing a private practice, the struggle for reimbursement, high malpractice rates, and to eliminate the stress of administrative duties.
In a nutshell, the author concludes that physicians who are considering hospital employment, must “seek counsel from a broker to understand the impact, in reference to his or her professional liability protection.”
“Ultimately, careful consideration needs to be given to the trade-offs between autonomy and employment,” writer Patricia A. Costante said.