I'm not sure that the majority of his professional peers agree, but it's nice, as a healthcare consumer, to know that there still is a choice. For now, even Libby agrees that independence appears to be the tougher road in the future, albeit a more rewarding one.
As an independent physician, you can't afford to sit on the sidelines as the industry changes, he adds. And he concedes that while employment could be the right choice for some physicians, there are big downsides.
"If you're employed you're much more a cog in the wheel," he says. "You don't have to worry about how the machine works, and you are insulated. But you're going to be scrutinized in ways you haven't been scrutinized before, which will directly impact your compensation."
Libby, a pediatrician in a 16-clinician multispecialty practice in Fairfax, is, with his partners, in the process of evaluating a potential business partnership with a local hospital. But the deal would stop far short of employment.
"You have to face the fact that you have to develop an approach to team care and understand how to evolve systems that don't necessarily stratify and create questions of authority and that are geared toward solutions," he says of the effort.