Eskridge Associates

Decline of independent doctors set to accelerate

The acquisition of independent physician groups by hospitals is expected to grow by 71 percent in the next three years, a trend driven by the Affordable Care Act and the need among younger doctors for more balance in their lives, according to a new report by Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The ACA’s focus on avoidable hospital readmissions, bundled payments and value-based purchasing is leading doctors and hospitals to work in a more integrated way, and buying physician groups is one way for hospitals to meet the ACA’s requirements, the study said.

In addition, more doctors are saying they don’t like the business side of running an independent practice and that they want more work/life balance, which is hard to attain in an independent practice, the study added.

In 2006, 16 percent of five-year medical residents said they were unprepared to handle the business side of medicine. By 2011, that had increased to 48 percent.

And, in 2001, 3 percent of those residents said they preferred to work for a hospital rather than other practice settings. In 2011, that had increased to 32 percent.

While most U.S. doctors (44.6 percent) remain employed by physician-owned medical groups, the growth rate of those groups was 2.3 percent between 2003 and 2010, the study added. By comparison, hospital-owned medical groups saw a 65.3 percent growth rate.

Doctors that want to remain in physician-owned medical groups will have to work more closely with hospitals in the future, the study concluded.

Dennis Domrzalski
Reporter- Albuquerque Business First

Eskridge & Associates specializes in the placement of physicians in over 65 different specialties, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in locum tenens, contract and direct hire placement opportunities nationwide. Our customers include hundreds of hospitals, clinics, medical centers, government facilities, and other healthcare organizations across the United States.

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