Private Doctors Overtaken By Huge Hospitals

by Staff | August 25th, 2011

A recent study by the Center for Studying Health System Change notes that the growing trend of buying up private practices (cardiology, gastroenterology, internal medicine) by large hospital systems could be contributing to the rapid rise in health care costs and a decline in quality of care.

Hospital ownership of a formerly private practice, according to the study, promotes volume over quality of care as the formerly independent physicians become profit centers for the hospital, often being pressured to order expensive but lucrative tests.  These hospitals often charge facility fees for office visits and outpatient procedures in the doctor’s office, in addition to the fees for the services themselves, even though the doctor’s office is not located at or near the hospital.

The worst thing about this new business model is that it frequently does not lead to improved care – communication between the hospital and the newly acquired private practice is often problematic.  This new system fails to achieve higher quality care but does tend to increase costs.

Authored by Attorney Ellen M. McCarthy