Should Physicians Remain Independent?

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Physicians have always had the ability to work for a hospital or become an independent practitioner.  A recent KevinMD.com article, takes a look at which route is a better option for health care professional’s careers.  Setting up an independent practice has many attractive qualities, such as “the desire to control how you manage your own business and the freedom, as well as responsibility, to provide care as you see fit.” On the flip side, there are many positives to joining a hospital, such as “better exchange of information, either personally or via information technology, to better manage patients and provide better healthcare.”

When a hospital purchases a physician practice, they are sometimes able to charge double the amount of for procedure or visit due to added facility fees.  Another advantage for doctors joining a hospital is the “ability to negotiate better rates on a larger scale, as opposed to being in solo practice.” An argument against consolidation is “that we have much better tools and data to manage costs and quality across large health systems.” As a physician, you will likely face this difficult decision at some point in your career, if you haven’t already. It is important that you take time to weigh the various pros and cons before deciding which route is best for you.

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