Physician Group Consolidations Let Doctors Focus on Patients

The pressures of practicing medicine are mounting, as the collision of higher costs and lower reimbursements is leading many physicians to question whether it’s worth it to try to practice independently.

An increased need for capital to fund investments in health-care information technology, care management, and patient population management resources also are driving physicians to rethink the independent practice model.

Luckily they have several options for consolidation and coordination in the health-care industry’s physician practice sector. There are “many potential suitors out there,” Paul A. Gomez, a principal at Polsinelli in Los Angeles, told me. Physicians can sell their practices—and jettison business and administrative worries—to hospitals, insurers, publicly owned large group practices, or private equity groups.

Some physicians, however, feel more “comfortable putting their faith in other doctors with similar training and backgrounds.” Gary Herschman of Epstein Becker & Green PC, New York, told me. The most attractive option for them may be the physician-owned, physician-run practice model.

New Jersey’s Summit Medical Group is an example of this type of group practice. The state’s oldest and largest group employs over 700 providers, a significant percentage of whom are in primary care. SMG, along with its management arm, Summit Health Management, aims to provide high quality care, while relieving some of the pressures on physicians.

I interviewed the company’s president and chief executive officer Dr. Jeffrey Le Benger, who shared SMG’s vision and how it is meeting its goal of relieving stress and “giving physicians hope.”

For insights on why physicians are pursuing alternative practice scenarios, and to see how SMG is helping empower doctors to get back to basics and practice medicine, read my story here.

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