Physicians and Hospitals – Consolidation ahead?

I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today entitled "When the Doctor has a Boss".  The article discusses the trend toward more physicians going to work for hospitals as opposed to opening/running their own practice.  The article states that the percentage of hospital-owned clinics hit 55% last year; up from 50% in 2008 and 30% five years ago.  Why?  Hospitals have become more aggressive in consolidating practices to ensure their own revenue and many physicians are opting out of the business-side of owning a practice in favor of simply taking a pay-check.  I contend that part of what’s driving is this trend is the difficulty independent physicians are having with generating an acceptable income.  Some docs are simply better at building a business.

In our world, about 65% of our clinics fall under the category of physician-owned.   Our clinic clients are medical entrepreneurs; dedicated to serving patients while building their practice/business.  In addition to offering pharmaceutical dispensing services, these practices provide an array of ancillary services that provide additional value to patients and revenue for the clinic.  Services and products mix to support the patient and the clinic.  Physicians that struggle with the notion of providing additional products and services to their patients will find it increasingly difficult to stay independent. 

I’m very encouraged by our clinics as they find new and creative ways to serve their patients, differentiate their practices and grow in spite of government interference, a tough economy and a host of other challenges that face these medical entrepreneurs.  Medication dispensing is not for everyone; but neither is owning your own business.  I salute all of our practitioners who continue to defy these trends and set their own path in these turbulent times.  Keep up the great work!

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