End of Private Practice

In Wisconsin, the number of heart doctors in private practice has declined to 11 percent from 62 percent of cardiologists in 2007, according to the American College of Cardiology, whose main offices are in Washington. The trend is similar nationwide. The number of heart doctors working for U.S. hospitals has more than tripled, while the number in private practice has fallen 23 percent over five years, the ACC said.

Entire article on hospitals vs. physicians’ reimbursement in the Bloomberg.

Comments (11)

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  1. Louise says:

    What is the major advantage to having more doctors in private practice vs. hospitals?

  2. Ken says:

    This is probably bad news.

  3. Jason says:

    I have the same question that Louise asked. Why is the increasing number of doctors working for U.S. hospitals so bad?

  4. Buster says:

    Many of the older doctors, who have always valued independence, are retiring from medical practice. The younger doctors emerging from medical school (half of whom are women) value a balance between their professional lives and their personal lives. Working in a group practice for a hospital is a condition they are willing to tolerate in return for not having to manage a business. Most no longer are willing to see patients 60 hours a week and be on call for another 80 hours each week.

  5. Diogenes says:

    My lawyer is part of a large firm, that way if he isn’t an expert in the particular issue I bring him, he has experts to consult. Why should medicine be different?
    I understand that multispecialty groups get better outcomes than individual practitioners. My desire to live longer is stronger than my nostalgia for Marcus Welbey.

  6. Thomas says:

    Small local offices are getting crushed. Doctors used to be central to community. Very disheartening to hear.

  7. August says:

    “Cardiologists are being targeted in particular because they attract patients needing expensive surgeries and tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging and stents to prop open clogged arteries”

    Yes, its happening, but choosing the most rural state and the most targeted group is a little distorting.

    Also, “Longer term, the expectation is that those changes will help slow rising costs. The law encourages hospitals to move toward accepting lump-sum payments to treat a condition or manage a patients’ overall health, rather than charging separate fees for every test and procedure”

    So it is part of a partial move away from Fee for Service

  8. seyyed says:


  9. Wasif Huda says:

    What a “heart-breaking” story. Yes, I know that was corny, but still funny, right?

  10. Jordan says:

    Yay for inelastic supplies of labor.

  11. Dr. Steve says:

    I am late to this discussion, but to the question someone asked about the difference between working for a hospital or private practice, small or large group, think of it this way.
    Historically in a private practice the doctor ultimately was working for the patient, but not once he/she is contracted to a hospital. Now you are working for the one who signs the check. I have seen the impact and once the majority of doctors have no viable alternative but contracting to a hospital it will get worse in a hurry.
    It is a lot easier to fire the private practice doctor than the mega-hospital that dominates your community if you are not satisfied with the service.