By Katie Ni
AMSA Health Policy Education and Outreach Coordinator
The current trend for both primary care and specialists has shifted from private practice model and embrace salaried jobs with hospitals. The American Medical Association says that 60% of family doctors and pediatricians, 50% of surgeons, and 25% of surgical subspecialty physicians are employees rather than independent (See graph).
Hospitals have been offering physicians much more attractive deals than what is traditionally experienced in private practice. Private practice makes less revenue and includes higher risk. It is not surprising to see many physicians making the switch.
On the surface, the increase in salaried doctors seems like good news for controlling health costs. In reality, physicians in hospitals are rewarded for doing more procedures and prescribing more medicines. This may particularly be the case for doctors who were drawn into hospitals by the competitive pay in the first place.
It is truly unacceptable for physicians to allow their own financial gain to effect making the best decision for their patients. Some may say that it is human nature, others consider this to be a reflection on character. However, there are two main ways the medical community can improve the situation. The ...