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Physician Alignment in an Era of Change

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 14, 2010
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Hospitals are actively seeking to employ more doctors and buy more practices while physicians are eagerly inquiring about employment, but hospital-physician relationships may be strained under the weight of more insured patients and the development of accountable care organizations, according to the HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit report, Physician Alignment in an Era of Change.

Among the disparate responses, there is sharp division regarding the impact of healthcare reform and equal amounts of confidence and uncertainty about new funding challenges and models for integrated care.

Healthcare leaders also say more physician specialties are likely to engage in joint ventures with hospitals, and reinforce the great need for primary care physicians despite persistent shortages.

There are some industry leaders, however, who say they are concerned about recruiting from competing hospitals and physicians from various groups, such as physician outpatient organizations. Leaders also note that some physicians are not as engaged as they should be, even employed physicians.

It's an amazing time in healthcare and the HealthLeaders Media study,  Physician Alignment in an Era of Change reflects that, says Craig E. Samitt, MD, president and CEO of Dean Health System in Madison, WI.

Samitt says he is fascinated by survey results that show a split over what respondents expect will be the impact of healthcare reform and the impact of millions more people joining the rolls of the insured over the next few years.

The reasons behind the varying opinions, Samitt believes, include the "highly competitive, changing market" and "the general uncertainty, because the rules are just getting written and we are very early in our journey toward reform."

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