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Doctors bailing out of private practices and selling to hospitals

Doctors leaving private practice

The question has always been how a patient can see a doctor without insurance, but the question soon may be whether or not you can find a doctor with your current insurance plan. As more and more Americans are able to get insurance through Obamacare a new CNN reports “the number of doctors unloading their practices to hospitals is up 30% to 40% in the last five years.”

When the doctor sells their practice to the hospital they generally become an employee of the hospital. The reasons this is occurring can vary. Some doctors simply want to practice medicine and don’t want to have to worry about the burden of filing insurance claims and making sure patients make payments for their services. But the mystery of Obamacare has made the situation even more tenuous for private practice doctors. Doctors are now concerned that new regulations could require them to invest even more money into their practice.

Unfortunately, increased costs are a valid concern. One of the higher costs, which doctors can expect in the next few years, is converting to electronic medical records. According to CNN, federal law gives physicians until 2015 to implement digital records technology or face a 1% reduction in Medicare payments. Some doctors have decided the challenges of converting the records is simply too big of an investment for them.

What do the doctors say?

Many doctors who have had practices for years claim they have struggled even before the new health care reforms. Some doctors claim lower drug reimbursements were the first sign they were in trouble. Doctors who frequently spent millions of dollars buying prescription medications saw their profits plummet when reimbursements were decreased.

What do the Hospitals say?

Hospitals have been more than willing to buy the practices. Back in the early 1990s they started doing the same thing and now the demand is even greater. Many hospitals anticipate with the implementation of Obamacare there could be a substantial increase in patients which could mean millions more Americans are seeking health care treatment.

Some doctors have seen this as a win/win. While they want to decrease their operational costs they also can enjoy set salaries and hours as hospital employees, although doctors recognize it will be difficult to get used to the loss of autonomy that many of them now enjoy.

Many private practice doctors recognize the challenges but have been able to weather the storm. Other doctors joke that there are now two kinds of private practices left in America: those that have been sold to hospitals and those that are going to be sold.

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