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Employed Physicians

Merritt Hawkins; The Physicians Foundation © Statista 2017

According to a 2016 survey, as many as 58 percent of physicians in the United States are employed by a hospital or physician group.  According to another national study, the three year period from July 2012 to July 2015 showed the number of hospital-employed physicians increased by almost 50 percent.  And those numbers show no sign of slowing.

All over the country, we are seeing medical staffs struggle under the challenges associated with employed physicians.

Issues that are magnified by a higher volume of employed physicians include:

  1. Conflicts of interest for employed medical staff leaders;
  2. Outdated and ineffective traditional medical staff structures;
  3. Failed efforts to organize and optimize the medical staff to be nimble in the face of current and looming challenges;
  4. Rise in conflicts and low trust;
  5. Lack of clarity for who’s accountable to whom for what;
  6. Anger that employed physicians seem to receive preferential treatment over private practice;
  7. Increased turnaround times in credentialing, privileging, and provider enrollment;
  8. Physicians seeing medicine as a 9 to 5 job, not a calling;
  9. Cultural challenges in assimilating private practice physicians into employment;
  10. Physician engagement after an employment contracting process that may have looked more like a divorce than a marriage; and
  11. The changing dynamics of peer review, quality, safety and compliance within a constantly changing pool of personalities and preferences.

The volume of employed physicians is magnifying these (and many other) issues that may have been written off as localized quirks before.

It’s time to be proactive about change with the medical staff to address the problems that are now cascading…  Let’s start the conversation about adapting and optimizing for the higher volume of employed physicians.

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