Traditionally physicians were small business people, working alone or in small groups. Increasingly physicians are becoming employees or partners of larger organizations. The barriers to entry as a solo practitioner are increasingly steep and risky – while groups afford power to negotiate fees, invest in practice infrastructure such as record systems and equipment, and allow young and often debt-burdened new physicians the ability to enter a practice as an employee without personal investment. Furthermore, the increasing complexity of contracting and payment with multiple payers leads many physicians to seek to avoid the business end of medicine and leave it to others while they treat patients. This New York Times article describes the trend.
More Doctors Giving Up Private Practices
Howard Torf says
It’s not remarkable that individual physician practices are going the way of the family farm, the corner drugstore (my dad used to own one), the mom and pop gas station, etc. etc. It’s simply uneconomic. More than even most professions, medicine is a team sport, relying on many co-operating specialists, expensive technology, cumbersome payment systems (thanks to our Byzantine system of private insurance). Why would doctors be immune from the laws of economics?