Rising expenses force PCPs to shrink practices

While debate continues about whether independent practices will exist in the future, it's clear that many solo physicians contend with vast challenges.

A recent article from the Dallas/Fort Worth Healthcare Daily relays the story of Ripley Hollister, M.D., a primary care physician who says rising expenses and falling expenses forced him to shrink his practice in the following ways:

  • Stopped providing obstetrics

  • Stopped performing colonoscopies

  • Began outsourcing lab tests

  • Stopped providing immunizations

  • Began doing the medical practice's laundry himself

Although Hollister maintained he has no plans to retire, his story tracks closely with recent reports from organizations, such as the Medical Group Management Association, confirming that rising operating costs ranked as a top practice stressor for several years running. The solo physician of 16 years also joins the largest segment of physicians who reported in a recent Jackson Healthcare survey that they work 50 hours per week (but he worked even longer hours before hiring two nonphysician providers).

This vignette also touches on the reasons behind the pervasive problem of physician burnout, which studies found affect approximately half of U.S. physicians. According to some of the practice professionals who commented on FiercePracticeManagement's recent coverage of the Jackson Healthcare survey as it pertains to physician satisfaction, one of the keys to promoting one's satisfaction at work is to leverage his or her intrinsic motivators.

Indeed, Healthcare Daily also noted that, "physicians who are satisfied with their profession tend to display an evangelist's zeal for practicing medicine, and enjoy addressing conditions such as obesity and nicotine or alcohol dependence. Their empathy also translates into better patient outcomes."

To learn more:
- read the article