It’s no secret that independent medical practice owners are struggling more than ever before with the business aspect of running their practices, and trends show that more and more physicians are thus opting for the greater financial security and administrative simplicity of employment with hospital systems, insurance companies or larger multi-specialty groups. For those who are hanging on to the autonomy of independent practice, what will the future look like?
Recent studies from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Accenture and Merritt Hawkins have highlighted the decrease in independent medical practices and corresponding increase in the number of physicians that are employed with healthcare systems. Administrative headaches and costs for practice owners, declining reimbursement, increased regulatory requirements and pressures from a new emphasis on accountable care are all factoring into this trend. What’s more, doctors are frustrated as they work the same number of hours, but for less money as a higher percentage of their time goes to administration or uncompensated care – up to $25,000/year for a majority of physicians, according to 2012 research from the Physicians Foundation.