Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Joining the Fishbowl

It's a strange thing, this practice consolidation.

Imagine: one minute the guys over there are your competitors, then the next thing you know, they're part of your group.

Before, you were SURE you offered patients something better (at least that's what you told yourself). Now, they are us. How does one differentiate themselves any longer? Can we? Should we?

Before, you worked for your practice, them for theirs. People unhappy with them could come to you across town and vice-versa. Where will your patients have to travel for an independent second opinion now? Or will those second opinions just occur with another colleague? As it stands now, we all work for One Practice and The Man. If the new guys screw up, we all screw up. They do well, we'll do well. (At least that's what's promised, right?) And what if The Man screws up?

It can't be easy being the new kids on the block: do you trust them? Do they trust you? Were there incentives to join? Were there not? What deal was cut? There was a deal, right? An now: what will be the impact of their presence be on patient volumes? On pay?

Like formerly incompatible tropical fish, we're all being thrown in the same fishbowl together. We look and feel so pretty now, don't we? But you have to wonder: who will survive and who will die off when the fishfood is in short supply? And as the bowl gets more crowded, will there be enough oxygen to support us all?



Marco said...

Unlike at home where you first put a new fish in a 'quarantine tank' to assess their health, you are just being thrown in with them without knowing who the toxic personalities are. Good luck.

Tim Hulsey, MD said...

Medicine is becoming part of the corporate world- mergers and acquisitions! There's no real vetting. All the "warm bodies" are just thrown in together. After all, a doctor is a doctor is a doctor, verdad?

Dennis said...

Unless there is a serious issue, I no longer 'see' my EP. I check in with the local cardio guy every six months for maybe a script and the usual 'how are you feeling' thing. My cardio is a good guy I guess, but I hardly know him. I suspect he is likely a walking zombie as he has been doing his thing for over thirty years. He belongs to a 'group'... fourteen of them. If I were to become dissatisfied with him, it would be the kiss of death to request another plumber. So I give thanks that for the moment I 'am feeling well'.