Some of the trends for physicians, surgeons, or other medical professionals are starting small practices, contracting with small to medium size hospitals, consolidating similar services in your area, urgent care, and telemedicine.
One of the most popular trends in the medical field is for physicians, who work in small practices, to leave or sell the practice to a larger corporate structure.
The reason why most of them do that is managing the business is overwhelming. Running a business in certain states has changed significantly in some states even year after year. Since 2016, we’ve also seen employment laws change such as overtime laws and FMLA. All kinds of employer-employee relationship laws are typically the most difficult for a small-medium-sized business to keep track of.
Contacts With Small To Medium Size Hospitals
One of the biggest trends for small business owners, physician groups, and surgeons that are under 50 employees, is to secure a contract with a small-medium size hospital. That contract pays them millions of dollars over a couple of years. Then, a different company can come in and offer to ultimately purchase the physician’s contract with the small size hospital.
This company winds up managing the office. They handle all the administrative hiring, firing, management, and payroll. They pay the bills. They obtain insurance for the company as well as insurance for the physicians if necessary.
In the meantime, the physician can stay employed with the business, and work at the same hospital, working with the same technology. It’s the same people but the physician doesn’t have the headache of making payroll, paying things on time, managing a building if they own a building or a lease, and managing the office.
Another trend is continued consolidation in the specialties throughout each state.
For example, in some states, if you’re an ophthalmologist and you practice eye surgery or you have clinics, it may be in your best interest to go around and buy up or partner with all of the other eye clinics in the rest of the state.
The most obvious example of this is with urgent care where you’re looking at pediatrics, generalists, or some orthopedic surgeons. These physicians get a higher volume of patients in broader geography. And with very limited treatment or referrals, they don’t have to join with the hospital, and they don’t have all the red tape.
Yet another trend is related to urgent care based on what patients and consumers want from a doctor.
Patients, especially if ill, don’t want to wait in an emergency room at a hospital. They want to walk into an urgent care clinic.
A lot of pressure has been placed on patients to go to urgent care. This pressure is influenced by workers’ comp insurance because employers get a bill for $1,000 after sending injured employees to the hospital. These employees often miss half a day at work because they are waiting to be seen by a doctor.
Employers can send an injured employee to the local urgent care facility that can do basic triage. Urgent care has lowered insurance rates. Employers get their employees back to work sooner. Employees miss less time at work. Thus, the upfront cost to assess the injury, even if serious, is much less because of no ambulance or hospital emergency room fees.
The urgent care trends from the patient’s side are that parents trust taking their children to urgent care for the flu rather than sitting in a hospital. They can get a prescription quicker. They can also use different flex accounts and insurance cards to cover some of the initial costs. Urgent care is just an all-around win-win for doctors and those with specialties.
Because the medical licenses are issued on a state-by-state basis, a lot of physicians are branching out, teaming up with other physicians in a specialty inside their state. Some physicians can’t practice outside of the state they live in.
The last trend is online telephonic medical care: telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a huge industry and it mirrors urgent care. It also is changing access to physicians. Patients are realizing they don’t need to meet face to face with a doctor every single time they are ill. They can check in with a physician assistant or nurse practitioner through a phone call or online video.
We’ve seen a proliferation of telemedicine with not just pediatric urgent care use but also psychiatrists. There’s been a proliferation of counseling programs. Speech pathology is also a huge market where speech pathologists can be delivered over the internet online or just through face-to-face interaction: FaceTime with your telephone.
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