by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
Since 2000, there has been a 75 percent increase in hospital employment. Smaller practices are selling their practices to larger health systems because it’s difficult for them to stay financially afloat in an era of declining reimbursement rates, changing payer rules, and costly electronic health records (EHRs).
In exchange for giving up the extra ‘bureaucratic drag’ associated with private practice, many of these physicians hoped they could focus solely on patient care.
Not always to their liking.
“I had noticed one of our hospital administrators came into the office one day with balloons and cake,” a physician tells me. “I went up to her and asked, ‘why the balloons?’”
The administrator explained that the celebratory items were to congratulate one of the physicians for seeing 34 patients in one day.
“There is no way somebody can see that many patients in one day and say that’s quality care,” the physician says. “And that’s when the lightbulb went off… we are not taking care of patients, we are feeding the hospitals’ bottom lines.”
Thankfully, there is a way for physicians to escape the bureaucracy that has rooted itself in private practice and hospital management. It’s called direct primary care (DPC).
Read more here on how DPC is saving physicians from their own profession.