The Financial Struggle of Independent Physicians

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Financial pressure and the hassles of getting paid by insurance companies threatens the existence of independent physician practices. At this point, it’s estimated that only about 1 in 3 doctors remains in private practice. The trend intensified between 2012-2015, when the number of hospital-employed physicians increased by 50 percent.

Let’s take a closer look at how independent physicians are impacted financially and why many are choose to be employed by hospitals or health system. In its recent Fee Schedule Survey, featuring more than 1,100 respondents from across the nation, Physicians Practice found that doctors affiliated with a hospital or health network are paid about $74 on average for office visits coded for new patients, while independent doctors are paid about an average of $58.40. Nearly half the survey respondents practice family medicine or internal medicine.

Of course, this is not surprising news since hospitals have the leverage to negotiate better rates with insurers. What options do independents physicians have to stay afloat?

Joining an IPA (independent practice association) allows physicians to operate independently while offering its members a way to improve cooperation with insurance companies and reduce the administrative burdens of negotiating payer contracts. Additionally, a good IPA can provide physicians with access to networking, resources, education and training that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Physicians can also generate new revenue streams by adding ancillary or subscription-based services, such as medication dispensing; weight-loss services; in-office diagnostic tests; nutrition counseling; cosmetic services; and alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and massage. If you choose to go this route, select services that match your fits your current practice.

Clinic Service appreciates that physicians are experts in treating patients not running a business. This is where our expertise comes in. To learn more about how we can help you maximize your reimbursements, contact us today.


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