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Will the health system battered by the pandemic emerge more vital in the year ahead?
According to Visier, the first quarter of 2021 and 2022 saw the highest increase in resignations among persons aged 40 to 60 or those with more than ten years experience.
And if you are thinking that this is only limited to business owners, restaurants, or retailers, then you had it wrong. Physicians who felt the rage of COVID are also suffering.
Let's get things straight. How to deal with this broken system? Will physicians still get out of this trap?
Private practices are being swallowed up
Before the pandemic, the number of independent practices continued to drop. Even today, more and more physicians are on the verge of extinction. There's only one reason: rising compliance costs and changing reimbursement models.
We know how everyone is affected by the pandemic. So "financial capacity" comes in. As per PAI, between January 1, 2019, and January 1, 2022, influential health organizations bought more than 36,000 medical offices. This is 38% higher than corporate-owned practices.
Doctors thought that as they join more prominent corporations rather than being practice owners, they would have more flexibility and enjoy other benefits.
Patients suffer in broken systems
Healthcare systems strive to accumulate more significant market share. In return, patients get higher prices for every service they need. But the question is: Are you sure that doctors' salaries will change too?
The Health Affairs study shows that a physician's salary decreases after a hospital acquires its practice. In addition, doctors employed by large conglomerates are often prohibited from referring patients to providers outside their health system. As a result, if a specialist with knowledge on a particular health problem is not part of the referral network, the patient may be unable to visit him or her.
It's no wonder that patients report lower satisfaction rates when they receive hospital care in markets with higher concentration levels.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to play the game.
I believe that the future of private practice is bright. While many in the industry see indicators as heralding the extinction of private practice, it can still be leveled out and may be reversed. Here are some ways you can leverage being a private physician rather than being employed. Learn how to avoid frequent private practice stumbling blocks.
Don't overlook private practices because you think they won't be around much longer. Instead, consider the independence and cost reductions they can give, and base your selection on your own situation.
I believe physicians will play an important, even growing role in any reformed healthcare system for all of these factors.
Of course, things are different and have begun to evolve dramatically for physicians today, but it is safe to say that the sky hasn't fallen yet for those who are in private practice.
Colin Zhu, DO, is a traveling physician who is board certified in family practice/OMT and lifestyle medicine. He has practiced as a CompHealth locum tenens physician for four years. Zhu is an international speaker and the author of "Thrive Medicine: How To Cultivate Your Desires and Elevate Your Life” and podcast host of Thrive Bites and creator of The THR5 Formula™Masterclass series, an online resource for healthcare professionals and students on learning how to thrive