Increased doc employment at hospitals a 'building block' for coordinated care

Three major Memphis, Tenn.-based hospital systems have more than tripled the number of physicians employed in the past year, reports the Commercial Appeal.

As of late November, the systems employed more than 400 physicians, significantly up from the 84 employed at the end of 2010, according to a new study by HealthLeaders-InterStudy. The surge can be attributed to Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and the Saint Francis hospitals having acquired or merged with many physician offices over the year, according to the Commercial Appeal.

"The health systems are using their newly employed physician groups as building blocks for coordinated care and payment initiatives, including bundled payments and Accountable Care Organizations," April Wortham, an analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy, told the Commercial Appeal.

Meanwhile, St. John Providence Health System in Detroit is increasing its efforts to align with doctors and private practice physicians in order to better manage healthcare services and improve quality, reports The Detroit News. As part of a growing trend in Michigan, St. John Providence created three new arrangements this year that split ownership 50-50 between the health system and doctors.

And while hospital-physician alignment is nothing new, both the scope of such alignments and the pace at which they are occurring are changing, notes Commercial Appeal. In fact, a study last month found that 70 percent of national hospitals and health systems plan to employ more physicians in the next one to three years, while 67 percent of hospitals and health systems are seeing more requests from independent physician groups about employment opportunities.

That data follows another October report that showed 32 percent of first-year residents surveyed in 2011 said they prefer to be employed by a hospital, up from 22 percent in 2008.

For more information:
- read the Commercial Appeal article
here's the Detroit News article

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