Hospitals Courting Primary-Care Doctors
Business + Economy

Hospitals Courting Primary-Care Doctors

In one of the first concrete steps to remake the way medical care is delivered, hospitals are competing to hire primary-care physicians, trying to lure them from their private practices to work as salaried employees alongside specialists.

The push is forcing doctors to make decisions about how to deliver care to patients, many of whom have relied on long-standing relationships with trusted independent neighborhood physicians and wonder what lies ahead.

It also spotlights benefits and drawbacks for patients and doctors alike in one of the health-care overhaul’s much-touted initiatives, set to begin next year. The law will reward teams of doctors, nurses and others if they coordinate to provide better care at lower costs. As front-line doctors, primary-care physicians are key to this effort.

In some cases, hospitals are seeking to take over existing practices; in others, they are hiring new graduates or relocating doctors from outside the region to prepare for accountable-care organizations. Some physicians want to work for hospitals and are seeking to play one option against the other, doctors said. But many others remain wary.

Primary-care physicians wrestling with the implications of becoming hospital employees or trying to go it alone say it’s ultimately about changing the way they have practiced medicine for decades.

“All the rules are changing,” said Jonathan Plotsky, 56, a longtime Rockville internist who has talked to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital about joining the staff.

Plotsky’s father is a psychiatrist who has been practicing medicine the same way for decades. But Plotsky worries about joining a hospital and turning over care of his patients to others.

“All I have is my patients,” he said.

Read more at The Washington Post.