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The NSPA Blog

Physicians Flee

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Posted on September 19th, 2016 by Teri Dreher, under Clinical Trends, Insurance & Billing

Has your doctor sent you a letter in the past 12 months that he or she is closing their practice or leaving the practice to retire? The independent doctor is disappearing. Many may cite economic reasons because Medicare is paying less, insurance forms take too much of the office staff’s time or he or she is just tired of all the hassle involved in practicing medicine.
According to a recent survey conducted by a major healthcare consulting firm, many physicians are leaving private practice for hospital employment. According to this survey, only one in three will remain independent by the end of 2016. The statistics are alarming, In 2000, 57 percent of physicians were independent. In 2005, that number has dropped to 49 percent. By the end of 2013 Accenture, a global consulting firm, predicted the number dropped even further to around 36 percent..
The reasons cited most frequently are reimbursement pressures and overhead costs. Add on governmental regulations and various reimbursement mandates, and the independent physician can barely survive. Some doctors, who still want to practice,,have taken the drastic step to opt out of Medicaid, health exchanges or Medicare.
Other physicians are experimenting with low staffs, reducing support staff or extending office hours. Some physicians are outsourcing all their back office operations, Billing has become complicated and must be handled by professions who have knowledge in coding claims and medical procedures..
Doctors that want to keep their practice are offering subscription-based services such as telemedicine or online consultations to remain profitable. This is a trend that is expected to increase in the coming years,
Although electronic medical record requirements are to benefit the patient, many physicians are giving up private practice due to this situation.
What is growing in Illinois is doctors who have given up traditional private practices have become high-end, personalized concierge physicians. If a patient wants this service they may pay fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars a year. Patients have access to their physician’s cell phone number and quick appointment times. The physician limits this type of practice to the amount of patients he or she can handle.
The physicians most Americans knew and loved rarely exists anymore.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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