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In 2007, 70 percent of cardiology practices were privately owned, while only 8 percent were owned by hospitals. It is reversed in 2018, with 73 percent of cardiologists in the United States employed and 25 percent self-employed. Therefore, early career physicians entering private practice now have several options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Visit modernheartandvascular.com if you’re looking for a private cardiology practice.
The following are some common business models and points to consider:
Solo practice: The number of cardiologists practicing alone is estimated to be 12 percent today. There is no doubt that complete autonomy is an advantage. There are several disadvantages to the system, including high overhead costs, limited scheduling flexibility, lack of resources (IT, billing, staffing, etc.), increased call volume, and inability to subspecialize. This has a significant impact on quality of life.
Group private practice:. The two most common options are single specialty and multi-specialty. A group’s compensation is usually higher if it consists of only one specialty. Cardiologists who work for themselves make approximately $80,000 more than cardiologists who work for an employer, according to Medical Group Management. There is a difference in size between each type.
It provides more flexibility, lighter coverage, greater subspecialization opportunities, and greater financial stability to work in larger group settings. There are fewer than 10 cardiologists in 45 percent of cardiology groups today. There are between 11 and 25 doctors in 24 percent of groups. The cohesiveness of larger groups (more than 10) is less likely to be present. The size of a group may also affect the way one practices. It is necessary for every cardiologist to participate in most activities in smaller groups. It is more likely that one can subspecialize in an area of interest in a large group.
Practices owned by hospitals:. The financial ties between hospital-owned groups and hospitals can be good or bad. This may also drive up costs, according to research. Recent research indicates that private plan prices increase with physician employment and physicians refer to hospitals regardless of quality or cost of care. The Beckers Hospital Review listed the exclusion of physicians from physician advisory, financial, or quality committees as one of the top five mistakes made by hospital-owned groups. There is a difference between initial contracts and renewal contracts with fewer perks and more restrictive covenants for physicians in these settings. It is also important for cardiologists to be aware of billing changes and whether bonuses are based on productivity or value.
Health Integration Systems :. The term integrated health system refers to a network of organizations that provide health care to a population, which may be independent or associated with a health care plan. It is estimated that the following are the largest integrated systems in the U.S., according to the SK&A report released in 2017:
- Ascension Health (St. Louis, MO)
- Community Health Systems (Franklin, TN)
- Catholic Health Initiatives (Englewood, CO)
- Hospital Corporation of America (Nashville, TN)
It has been argued that the power of these networks lies in their scale – the larger the network, the better. There are also theoretical advantages to accessing better technology, better expertise, and better capital. When joining this type of network, doctors are advised to have an escape clause in case the alliance is too restrictive or results are unsatisfactory.
There are several options in private practice for an early career cardiologist, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The decision ultimately depends on how well the model suits your professional, financial, and personal needs.