Physician Independence Not Incompatible With Reform
He cautions health systems to be wary of envisioning large-scale physician employment as a panacea—something we write about frequently at HealthLeaders.
"[Employed] docs will come in and out of their jobs, and won't be fixtures in the community," he says. "Hospitals trying to 'own' their community will find their strategy will not necessarily pay off if they can't trust some of the care to those outside of the hospital. That will be necessary to do ACOs."
As the massive shakeup in healthcare continues, Libby envisions a point at which independents and employed docs will reach a new equilibrium, but he's not necessarily optimistic that independence will win out. He's sanguine about the prospects, but isn't convinced that employing a greater percentage of physicians will lead to higher quality healthcare.
"There will be a saturation point, but you disenfranchise the medical community when you remove the incentives for them to be responsible business owners," he says. "Medicine is a business. [Hospitals and health systems] will stop being so enamored of hiring physician groups and will realize that they are better off partnering with us.
Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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