Young Doctors Disgruntled, Determined

Joe Cantlupe, April 26, 2012

The Caring for Women, PA obstetric and gynecologic practice in Denton, TX, helps newborns begin smoothly in life, but the physician group itself is struggling to survive.

The small practice faces constant fiscal challenges and has made cutbacks to salaries and retirement benefits amid worries that the physician group may be nearing its end. The Caring for Women practice's difficulties reflect those faced by small physician groups across the country who wonder whether they should join bigger, high volume groups, or even get out of the caring for people business altogether.

The practice is not comprised of grizzled veterans who have seen enough and are ready to make a change. Rather, these are physicians who only started out in the 1990s, and are thinking of bailing out already.

Joseph S. Valenti, MD, FACOG, one of four practicing doctors in the group, handles the administrative duties for the organization, which also includes three midwives, a nurse practitioner, and other staff.

Now in his early 40s, Valenti easily lists why he and his colleagues are reconsidering the future of the practice. "My income in the last five years has gone down 33%, and my overhead has gone up 50% every year," Valenti tells HealthLeaders Media.

"The physicians in the group decided to take a pay cut. The physicians also took almost $80,000 out of their own retirement fund. It's a challenge to find more places we can cut, still keep good people in the office, and see patients appropriately. It's becoming harder and harder."

Joe Cantlupe Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.Twitter


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