Independent Physicians

Helping people live longer, healthier lives—that’s what you do.

But you also value the ability to make your own decisions about what’s best for your patients and your practice.

Yet every day, running a practice grows more and more complex, threatening the very existence of independent medical groups.

Healthcare is a large industry filled with large organizations

An industry does not grow to become one-sixth of the total economy without having massive players.

  • Government, in one form or another, pays for slightly more than half of the $2.8 trillion spent on healthcare each year.
  • The top five insurance companies provide coverage for almost one third of all Americans.
  • The capital investment required for drug and medical device development and distribution mean that almost all these companies are large.
  • Hospitals are now increasingly likely to be owned by large healthcare systems, for profit or not.

Yes, mega players dominate the healthcare industry. Economic dynamics necessitate the large size of many organizations.

Intimate and personal

Yet, at its essential core the work of healthcare is personal and intimate. Patients trust our industry to provide a service that they cherish dearly. Some of our work is routine, but often we serve our ‘customers’ at a time of great need and personal vulnerability. Large can feel very impersonal.

We believe the physician sits in a unique role, able to bring together the value of the big hospital, the big pharmaceutical company, the big imaging device maker, and the big insurer at a single point for a particular person at a particular time – the patient.

Role for independent physicians

It has long been observed by watchers of the industry, and lamented by physicians themselves, that given this unique role doctors should have all of the power in the industry, and would have it were they able to get organized into large organizations like all other parts of the industry. And that is probably true.

Now there is a trend, again, for hospitals and health plans to employ physicians. Many argue that the independent physician practice is a thing of the past with no real role in the industry of the future. We understand that many physicians will elect to align with larger entities and give up their independent status. We understand the value of this model.

However, we firmly believe that we are far better off as a country and as individual patients when we have a healthy, thriving community of independent, physician owned practices. We believe this industry, which naturally tends toward largesse, clearly needs what only independent practices can provide. We believe individual patients need great independent practices as real options for their healthcare. And we believe the big organizations need the integrating capabilities, and yes, the checks and balances.

Yes, this is the market we serve and we aim to serve it profitably without apology. But we also truly believe that the real work of our industry reform cannot be managed solely in Washington, state houses, or corporate board rooms. The exam room, when a doctor and a patient together make the best decisions for that patient and their family, is equally important.