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Fighting the Tide Against Independent Physicians

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, November 11, 2011

In an effort to help physicians see another way, the foundation has developed technological solutions aimed at the independent physician office, and they are committed to helping educate physicians on the realities of running a business, even one that's challenged by healthcare reform.

Together with Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, the Physicians Foundation hosts a three-day educational institute with Kellogg professors at which presidents of state medical societies learn negotiating skills and other business concepts so they have a toolkit to deal with hospitals, insurance companies, and employers.

Further, they've developed a Roadmap for Physicians to Health Care Reform, a simplified guide for independent physicians that "explains to physicians in straight English what the Affordable Care Act means to the doctor and his patients and what opportunities they might have to participate," says Goodman.

He hopes these efforts encourage physicians of an independent bent that they can maintain that, though he concedes it's a tough sell sometimes. Goodman says that many of the physicians who initially choose employment with a hospital or large group also choose to leave that position after three to five years. Whether or not they go to another employed position is immaterial, he says. They need other options.

"They feel under pressure, stress, unappreciated, overworked, and treated more like housekeeping than the fine professionals that they are," says Goodman. "But there's no medicine without physicians."


Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "Fighting the Tide Against Independent Physicians"


Arun K. Potdar (11/15/2011 at 8:50 PM)
I am glad to see that you have brought this subject in the forefront of all the discussions going on in the US in health care reform platform. I spent my working life in the various aspect of the American Health Care Systems starting with regulatory bodies and ending in the executive management of Medical Campus. Your article is not only on the mark it is an eye opener for the new physicians. I have been studying and following the reform movement in health care and I want to say that; a physician employee is the worst employee you can have. I worked for a staff model HMO and what happened to these noble professionals is appalling to narrate here. Yes there is a way for physicians to remain independent but they need to be entrepreneurial non only in practice but also in the idiosyncrasies' No longer you have the advantage of prevailing and customary charge based reimbursements and that is what RVS based fee schedules are. A new physician entering in the market is by default well verse in modern technology in handling electronic communications and for such an individual operating under IT dominated decision support systems is a that proverbial, "piece of cake" and that is what we are looking at in the twentieth century Medicine. The opportunity for the new physicians to be innovative and proactive are enormous' Feds are funding it. My own alternative to Hospital based or worst; Managed Care owned Physicians is to set up an MSO; albeit a bad concept of eighties but an organization concept that can be adopted to meet the challenges of tomorrows health care with physicians directing it. I developed one model that will give the physicians the freedom they must have and the reward they deserve while reducing this dominance of the Third Party Payers (TPP) organizations on the care of patients. No longer a Hospital CFO will discharge a patient as a New Yorker Magazine's cartoon depicted it in early eighties .