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Physicians-for-Hire Must Tread Carefully

HealthLeaders Media Staff, for HealthLeaders Media, November 12, 2013

Doctors considering accepting an employment offer from a hospital or health system should consider carefully whether the medical model and culture will be a good fit.

This article, by Greg Freeman, originally appeared in Managed Care Contracting & Reimbursement Advisor, December 2013.

Now more than ever before, hospitals are recruiting physicians to leave their private practices and join the hospital as an employee, or merge the entire practice with the hospital. Those offers will only increase as the healthcare industry moves more toward the accountable care organization (ACO) model, so how do you know what to do when the offers come?

And what if you haven't been asked yet, but you're interested in making the move?

In both cases, you should be careful to assess the potential arrangements and know what you would be getting into, says Phil Dalton, founder and CEO of Medical Development Specialists, a consulting company based in Los Angeles. Employment of physicians by hospitals or foundations is increasing at a rapid pace, he says.

With ACOs and other hospital arrangements, there is no one model that can be judged as good or bad for physicians. They each must be evaluated on their own merits, and the doctor must examine what characteristics of his or her own could determine whether an alliance with the hospital is a good plan, says Dalton.

If you haven't been approached by a hospital yet, you will be before long, says Marc Halley, ­president and CEO of Halley Consulting Group in Westerville, Ohio.

"The trend to hiring by hospitals is rampant," Halley says. "In some cities it's a feeding frenzy."

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