Also consider the strategy of the hospital group you would be joining. As new ACOs and other groups form, some do not have a clearly defined strategy, and that could be bad news down the road, Dalton says. Make sure the strategy fits with how you want to practice medicine.
"Does their strategy turn you into a doctor who just churns patients or does it let you be a population health manager?" Dalton says. "Does the compensation arrangement reward quality and outcomes or does it just pay you based on how many patients you see in a day?"
The buyout tends to be less important when assessing the potential group you are considering, Dalton says. Unless the practice is quite large, the buyout proceeds are not likely to be enough to make much difference for the physician. But the payment arrangements and other particulars of the group arrangement will.
"I've seen practices sell to whoever had the highest bid, but I don't think that's hardly ever the way to go," Dalton says. "There are usually other factors that are more important in deciding what offer to accept."
Private practice not dead yet, even as hospitals hire more
The AMA recently reported that private practice medicine remains strong despite an increase in hospital employment. The conclusion was based on the first nationally representative study of physician practice arrangements in five years, says AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD.