"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Solo Practitioner

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the NY Times, "Family Physician Can't Give Away Solo Practice" written by Gardiner Harris.  This article should be mandatory reading for every solo practitioner.  A very sobering read on the future of the family doctor, who populates our cities and towns across America.  These very special people are struggling to survive in today's economy and will become extinct in a few years once the electronic health record becomes mandatory for doctors to be paid.  Last week, I blogged about the role of the hospitalist and that the number of physicians giving up their hospital practice has forced our hospital to double the physicians in our hospital medicine program.  The physician in the attached article now has to see three patients per hour to cover his ever rising costs and four patients an hour to make a profit based on reductions in what is he is paid.  Now you have the rest of the story and stay tuned for more.  The upcoming changes related to physician practice will be many, and I am not so sure that all will be for the best.

1 comment:

  1. Very fascinating article, and if Massachusetts is any indication the shortage family practice physicians will only be exacerbated as access to health care improves nationally. Thank you for sharing!

    As a bit of background, I recently moved to Cumberland. I have been following you for the last couple of weeks because, as someone who works in the health care industry, I find it important to understand the local health care delivery system.

    Given your position as a community leader, I am curious as to how Western Maryland Health System is planning for a continued (and likely increased) shortage of family practice facilities in Allegheny County? From personal experience, the shortest wait list I could find for a first visit was greater than three months.

    Also, are there any plans to integrate communication (e.g. systems such as EMR) between physicians in the county and the hospital?

    Finally, and as a more over arching question, how does WMHS see partnerships developing between privately owned family practices and the larger system?