Published in the January 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
For the first issue of 2014, we revisit a story we’ve covered in the past, but one that is taking on a new sense of urgency because of the ongoing implementation of health care reform.
Our cover story takes a look at independent hospitalist groups that are taking the plunge and joining forces with larger organizations. While small groups may have always been tempted to consider being acquired by larger groups, independent groups may be feeling more pressure than ever.
A big reason has to do with health care reform. Hospitalist groups and hospitals alike are wondering whether bigger really might be better when it comes to accountable care organizations, population-based health and pay for performance.
Health care reform isn’t the only factor driving consolidation among hospitalists. For many groups, recruiting hospitalists is just as challenging as ever. And as we point out in the article, many entrepreneurial physicians are still interested in launching their own practice. But in an environment that rewards organizations that can track and act on reams of data, some smaller groups are wondering if their going-it-alone days are numbered.
Individual hospitalists also have concerns about what health care reform will mean for them as physicians. In our survey last year, we asked hospitalists what they thought of the Affordable Care Act and how they thought it would affect them professionally. You can see what the specialty thinks about it in this month’s poll, but what I found interesting is that even hospitalists who support Obamacare see increased workloads and shrinking reimbursement in their future.
On that note, I’d like to wish you a happy new year.
Editor & Publisher