Friday, June 25, 2010

When Hospitals Divorce Their Doctors

As doctors increasingly become physician-employees, there's no longer a need to share resources with University specialists:
Three University of Virginia cardiologists have been told by the Augusta Health board they will lose their hospital privileges next week, impacting the 2,500 patients the doctors serve.

Augusta Health officials told the doctors in a letter that they won’t be able to treat their patients in emergencies or otherwise at the hospital in Fishersville.

. . .

Crow’s statement said the board is limiting cardiology department participation to doctors “under contract to Augusta Health.”

Augusta Health has four cardiologists on staff, and will soon have a fifth, he said.

Limiting cardiology participation to the hospital’s own doctors will allow Augusta Health “to build a strong and financially viable community-based cardiology program,” Crow said.
Universities have a long history of exporting their clinical expertise in the hopes of capturing more complicated surgical cases from their imbedded specialists. With more and more health systems consolidating (note the three-for-one swap above), the days of collaboration and shared resources between health systems are ending and patients are finding access to doctors more challenging.


Addendum 26 Jun 2010 @ 05:45am: It seems procedures, not patients, are what's at stake:
"“Twenty-five hundred [patients] is significant, but is not going to generate that many procedures on a yearly basis,” he said.

1 comment:

Medical Quack said...

It's not only the universities, it's everywhere. In California doctors can't by law work direct for the hospitals, so we get contract issues with cancellations and new medical groups created and lawsuits. This one is particularly disturbing going on at the City of Hope.