The latest trend in physician services seems like it’s hospitals hiring doctors as their employees or owning the practice jointly with the physician.
Although this focus on hospital as employer with the doctor as employee is on the rise, this statistic does not tell the whole story, and it certainly does not mean the end of the solo physician practice.
In fact, quite the opposite is true in regards to physician practices headed by a single doctor. A statement recently issued by American Medical Association (AMA) president, Ardis Dee Hoven, based on a recent study attempted to clarify the sometimes confusing distinction between doctors who work directly for hospitals and doctors who own their practices outright while also working closely with a hospital. Study participants were asked to choose whether they work for practices that are wholly owned by hospitals, owned by non-profit organizations, owned by physicians in the practice or owned jointly by the physician and the hospital.
Though the number of physicians who were in a solo practice as well as those who were the owners of their own practices, decreased according to information extracted from data obtained in 2007-2008, less than 30 percent of them were either employed directly by a hospital or employed in practices that were partially owned by hospitals.
Additionally, the study noted that medical billing options need to streamline the physician practice process in order to reduce costs for physicians while allowing for greater patient interaction and satisfaction. State of the art technology that is built with the unique needs of solo physicians in mind rather than a stripped down model of a hospital based system is needed to deliver the desired results. Cloud based computing allows access to information from virtually anywhere, and at any time.
Regardless, solo practices have faced serious struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.
A New York Times article talks about how smaller practices across the country have waiting rooms like “ghost towns”. Even though these practices have been around for ages, the push to a virtual doctor-patient interface has unfortunately led to numerous practices closing down and letting staff go. Autumn Road in Little Rock Arkansas is one such practice that has had to lay off “12 people” according to the administrator Tabitha Childers. Numbers estimate that this is only the beginning and 60,000 medical practitioners in family medicine will likely go out of business before the pandemic is over.
Even though, federal aid and grant program have been implemented to help practices around the country, much of the money has been going to established hospitals and much larger clinics. But efforts such as “advancing Medicare payments and reimbursing virtual visits” has been some form of relief.
Last Updated on January 21, 2021