The healthcare industry is constantly going through changes, especially in regards to the healthcare marketplace. Policies and regulations are compelled to evolve because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. This adds pressure to everyone involved, especially doctors who are struggling to keep up with the increasing number of patients who may default on their payments. Doctors Leaving Their Practices to Become Hospital Employees The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, has caused a lot of hospitals to buy up physician practices. This practice, enacted all over the United States, helps hospitals fall in line with a system that reimburses based on quality of care and outcomes. This varies from models in the past, which relied on a traditional fee-for-service system. The end result is doctors transitioning to an employee role. But why are doctors selling their practice when they are potentially giving up a lot of freedom and control?
Why Doctors Are Switching to Employee Roles Today’s healthcare system uses electronic medical records has been around for decades. It is an ever-evolving system that, at times, can be hard to use. Doctors know this, which is why they are making the switch to an employee role, so they can have a guaranteed paycheck. They no longer have to make payroll and pay wages because the hospital owns the practice. Without making this switch to an employee role, doctors may experience high operational costs and low reimbursements from insurance companies. Essentially, there is no security net for them to be effective at their job: making a living by providing treatments to their patients. Doctors who own their practice have a lot of responsibility in regards to administrative roles. This burden is alleviated when they become employees, because they no longer have to worry about handling billing, insurance claims and organizing records. A fully-staffed administrative team takes care of this, so doctors can put more emphasis on treating patients and helping them make full recovery. The Effects on Patients Doctors are not the only ones affected by this employee-role shift. In fact, patients across the country are actually benefiting in some ways. As mentioned earlier, hospitals have more resources to use in managing administrative duties. This gives patients a more streamlined experience. Filling out paperwork won’t be as complex or time consuming. Clerical and administrative errors are also reduced because of the simplified processes. Because doctors know they are getting paid, their morale may go up. This makes the hospital experience much more enjoyable for patients because they know their doctors are happy and are fully committed to helping them get better, not worrying about their next paycheck. When hospitals acquire physician practices, they typically have to pay a larger salary and offer more benefits for said services. Hospitals respond to these increased costs by trying to recover the cost in other ways, such as increasing the rate of Medicaid outpatient services. This could somehow adversely affect patients because they may end up being charged more for what is considered outpatient services, as opposed to less costly doctor visits. The healthcare industry will keep on changing. The trick is to keep up with current healthcare trends brought about by the effects of Obamacare on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Adapting swiftly to the changes in the Affordable Care Act marketplace will allow your hospital to give better service to its patients while improving its efficiency and profitability. Sources: History of the Electronic Medical Record system, nasbhc.org Apprehensive, Many Doctors Shift to Jobs With Salaries, nytimes.com