More heart docs embrace hospital employment

Even with concerns that healthcare consolidation produces massive inflation, hospital-physician integration steams ahead with cardiologists leading the move to hospital employment.

In fact, more than half (53 percent) of U.S. cardiology groups are fully integrated with a hospital, according to a recent report from consulting firm MedAxiom.

The survey responses represent more than 2420 physicians and found that 14 percent of cardiology groups are in the process of integrating, while 11 percent are considering hospital integration.

Hospital-physician integration is becoming a new norm in healthcare. Nationally, the percentage of hospital-owned cardiologists (35 percent) equals the percentage of those in private practice, according to data from the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

For more proof, look to Florida, where Florida Hospital just purchased one of the area's largest cardiology practices, Florida Heart Group, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Similarly, nearby Orlando Health recently added multi-specialty practice Physician Associates to its workforce.

As more hospitals look to scoop up cardiologists and specialty physicians, what type of organizations are physicians selling their practices to? According to MedAxiom, most cardiology groups (33 percent) are integrating with general and community hospitals, followed by tertiary hospitals (25 percent), districts and health systems (23 percent), and teaching hospitals (11 percent).

Specialized hospitals, and public and rural hospitals are slow to the trend, integrating with only 5 percent and 1 percent of cardiology groups, respectively.

For more:
- here's the report
- read the Orlando Sentinel article