HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - July 24, 2008 | Survival of the Fittest View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Survival of the Fittest
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

When I talk to physicians in private practice about their struggles these days, I rarely hear business terms like market share, growth, or profit. Instead they talk about basic survival, as if they are up against the elements and concerned first and foremost about weathering the storm. [Read More]
  July 24, 2008

Editor's Picks
Doctors held liable for "loss of chance"
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has set a new precedent for "loss of chance" lawsuits, ruling that doctors can be held liable for negligence that reduces a patient's chance of survival, even if the prospects for recovery were less than 50%. Negligence is negligence, and physicians shouldn't be immune based on the patient's survival chances. However, the question here is, will we start seeing more frivolous lawsuits from patients or families who are unclear about realistic survival chances? [Read More]
Medicare to pay bonuses for e-prescribing
I mentioned a couple of months ago in a column that this might be coming: The legislation to halt the Medicare payment cut included an e-prescribing bonus program. In 2009 and 2010, Medicare will pay an additional 2% bonus to physicians who e-prescribe. In 2011 and 2012 the bonus will drop to 1%, and in 2013 it will be 0.5%. If you're not e-prescribing in five years, you will start losing money. But the original proposal was to bring out the stick earlier, so overall this is a good incentive program to help physicians adopt a much-needed technology. [Read More]
Rural physicians more satisfied
This Press Ganey survey contains a lot of info about physician-administration relations, but I found this tidbit most interesting: Physicians practicing in rural areas tend to be more satisfied overall than their urban counterparts. Why, then, is it so hard to recruit physicians to rural facilities? Other interesting findings: Surgeons and critical care specialists are the least satisfied medical staff, while pathologists and rehabilitation specialists are most satisfied. [Read More]
Paying doctors to ignore patients
This New York Times op-ed offers a good analysis of the flaws in our current fee-for-service reimbursement system by contrasting the profitability of a CT scan to a standard patient visit. Money quote: "The best way for a doctor to make money in his practice is not to spend time with patients but to use equipment as much as possible. That means moving the maximum number of patients through the practice, and spending the minimum amount of time with each one." [Read More]
Business Rx
Offer Financial Counseling to Collect More Copays:
As an increasing share of healthcare costs has been shifted by employers to their employees, copays and deductibles have gone up substantially. This increase has left providers with a significant amount of outstanding self-pay revenue to collect. One effective method of capturing outstanding self-pay balances is to designate one of the billing staff members to provide financial counseling to patients. [Read More]
Physician News
Trying to save by increasing doctors’ fees
New York Times - July 20, 2008
NC Medical Board won’t publish all malpractice settlements
Raleigh News & Observer - July 18, 2008
Study: Med students sharing a bit too much info on Facebook
AP/Boston Herald - July 24, 2008
Tough times prompt patients to skip care
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - July 23, 2008
Doctor fees raise questions about equal access to care
The Tennessean - July 21, 2008
September 17: Physician Practice Staffing: Five Strategies to Become the Employer of Choice
August 9: Recruiting Today's Physician: Competitive Compensation Packages and Practice Structures
August 6: OR Overhaul: 5 Surgical Site Improvements Every Leader Should Make Today
On Demand: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2008: Neurosciences
From HealthLeaders Magazine
The Hospital
of the Future

HealthLeaders July 2008
Sure, your organization offers sophisticated, compassionate care. But the patients of tomorrow will want much more than that. Here’s how some hospitals are creating facilities for a new vision of healthcare. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Are Doctor's Underpaid? Contributor Phillip Miller, vice president of communications with Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, examines recent physician compensation trends and considers the potential consequences of not paying doctors what they're worth. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Convenient Care Clinics and Stand-Alone ERs: A Threat to Doctors? Paul Breslin, a senior principal at the Noblis Center for Health Innovation, discusses the strategic implications of the proliferation of minute clinics and standalone emergency rooms to physicians and physician practices. [Listen Now]
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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
Find practice-management ideas in The Doctor's Office, a monthly newsletter.