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4 Strategies for Fed-Up Physicians

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 2, 2012

A 43-year-old North Carolina physician moved into solo practice because of the "relentless pressure" from his previous job at a community health center. He has a load of only 650 patients and schedules 45 minutes for follow-up appointments with each patient.

As for concierge service, a patient pays an annual fee or retainer, for enhanced care. This arrangement offers flexibility for a physician. Some physicians also are embarking on "hybrid" practices that combines concierge, suited to patients who want specialized services and are willing to pay, along with their regular practices, Wayne Lipton, founder of Concierge Choice Physicians told me.

3. Improve your practice's digital technology now. Those that enable real-time claims management and payment, automate dictation and coding, and improve physicians' communication with each other and with patients "could lower overhead costs and enable more efficient practice," wrote Goldsmith. Medical practice innovation holds the key to private practice being a viable alternative to salaried employment for the next generation of physicians, he said.

4. Consider joining independent practice associations or merge with other independent practices that can provide "greater leverage" with hospitals and payers, as well as vendors. Although this move involves a loss of autonomy and control, it has a definite upside. Physicians' willingness to join organizations to manage population health risks will be essential to regaining control over their professional lives. "The alternative is to continue to have their clinical decisions micromanaged by health plans and Medicare," Isaacs and Jellinek state.

Obviously, these aren't panaceas, but the idea is to provoke some thoughts among physicians who will need to be flexible in a turbulent time.

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2 comments on "4 Strategies for Fed-Up Physicians"


taylors (8/2/2012 at 6:10 PM)
Excellent article! The points are very practical and we are big supporters of the Fix Your Practice. The amount of money Practices loose by not collecting co-pays up front or having the billing in disarray is staggering. If Physicians and Management looks at the allowed amounts under their contracts and set a goal to collect it all rather than just 80% or even worse 0%, the economic picture would start to emerge as promising.

Tabor Nuns (8/2/2012 at 2:32 PM)
No one is leaving his practice. Leave and do what? Be a bartender? And why blame it on health reform headaches? WHAT headaches? Health reform starts in 2014, if you're having a headache now, it has nothing to do with reform. Sure, salaries may go down but they would go down no matter what the health insurance landscape is. Salaries have stagnanted for years yet doctors are not leaving the profession[INVALID]we dont' know how to do anything else!