Decline in Private Practices Due to Healthcare Changes

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TL;DR
Smaller practices are now often being combined into larger corporation to remain competitive in today’s competitive healthcare environment.

Private Practice Changes

Over the past several years, the healthcare industry has witnessed a substantial decline in private practice physicians as more and more of them close or sell their practices to larger corporations. An article in the New York Times stated that, according to the AMA, 60% of primary care physicians, 50% of surgeons, and 25% of surgical specialists are employees of a larger network rather than practicing on their own.

This shift is due to a number of reasons according to a MedCity News article by Dr. Linda Girgis, MD:

  • With technology being increasingly applied to healthcare, physicians must be able to keep up with the latest innovations. However, at the same time, they must maintain the business side of their practice as well.
  • Competition comes not only in the form of hospitals, but also as telemedicine, minute clinics, etc. Private practices are constantly challenged with new rivals.
  • Overhead and liability costs are continuously rising, but there are limited salary adjustments or reimbursements to help support them.
  • The passage of the Affordable Care Act has increased the requirements physicians must meet, such as the objectives for achieving meaningful use, costing valuable time and energy.

If physicians intend to keep their practices going, it’s important for them to make a solid effort to ensure business runs smoothly. Practices should look into what they can do to support their own needs:

  • Prioritize learning about ACA mandates and keep up with the requirements
  • Organize their business to develop efficiency and monitor finances, overhead costs, etc.
  • Analyze how best to contend with their competition

Though there are countless hurdles, it’s possible for private practices to thrive in the sea of changes ahead. Their future depends solely on how they can handle present conditions.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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