The state of hospital-physician relations: An exclusive survey
Exclusive survey on the state of hospital-physician relations offers good news for the partnerships, but questions over issues such as money and trust raise doubts about how long the harmony will last
In a suburban Chicago healthcare market where competitors were steadily locking up physicians as employees, 431-bed Northwest Community Hospital purposely sought doctors who wanted no part of being on someone else’s payroll.
“I positioned us as not being a place to employ physicians—this goes back 21 years ago—but rather a place for physicians who wanted to be independent, entrepreneurial,” says Bruce Crowther, president and CEO of the Arlington Heights, Ill.-based hospital.
Times change. Though the deliberate differentiation “served us extremely well over the years,” Crowther says, the hospital recently closed on the acquisition of the largest physician practice on its medical staff. Plans are in the works to employ hundreds more primary-care and specialty physicians.
At the other extreme, Billings (Mont.) Clinic merged with a community hospital in that city back in 1993 and has purred along as a physician-led, group-practice-centric organization with a single patient record and billing system and well-aligned financial and clinical incentives for quality and efficiency.
But a new word was spliced into the clinic’s vision statement for 2010: value—for patients and payers. “We realized that if you are not an organization that creates value, you’re not going to be poised for the future,” says Douglas Carr, the clinic’s medical director for education and system initiatives.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, along with other economic forces and regulatory wrinkles, are driving physicians and hospital administrations into each other’s arms, often for strategic reasons but also for survival in the face of declining reimbursements. These forces will alter the ways hospitals and their physicians work with one another. To help measure that change, Modern
Healthcare in partnership with Press Ganey Associates, a healthcare performance improvement firm based in South Bend, Ind., conducted an industrywide survey on the state of hospital-physician relations and how they may change given a host of potential obstacles. Of the 193 responding organizations, 94% employed at least some physicians.
“The results of this study indicate that the relationship between hospital administration and employed physicians is generally pretty
Carr: Providers now need to focus on creating value.