Hannah Smoot of The Charlotte Observer reported on the seven doctors leaving CaroMont Medical Group’s South Point Family Practice in Gaston County to join Tryon Medical Partners. To read the whole article, click here.
Here are some article highlights:
It makes sense that doctors would want to be independent, said Barak Richman, a Duke Law School professor specializing in health care policy.
“You don’t see a whole lot of physicians breaking away,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s not entirely surprising that they would want to.”
It can be frustrating for doctors to have to follow instructions from a “hospital mothership,” Richman said. Independent practices allow doctors to be more involved in decision-making.
Mike McCartney, one of the doctors leaving CaroMont, said patients had many complaints about the health system.
Lab tests were more expensive for patients when using hospital equipment and patients griped that it was hard to get phone access to doctors, McCartney said.
What’s more, he said, hospitals can be slow to make needed infrastructure changes.
“One of the things about being an independent model is being more nimble,” McCartney said. Physicians will be able to costs down more effectively in an independent practice, he said.
There are three ways hospitals like CaroMont, Atrium and Novant Health are able to make medical services more profitable, Richman said.
First, big hospital systems ensure less competition, Richman said. Hospitals can also charge facility fees for hospital property usage. And a broad network of physicians means hospitals can count on higher referral rates.
“It becomes a very lucrative combination for those involved, but it often becomes a costly combination for (patients),” he said.
Dr. Brian Wysong, one of the seven doctors who has practiced in Belmont for 13 years, said the decision to separate came from a lack of control.
“From a business perspective, from a phone perspective, from a front-desk perspective, from hiring and firing, I mean, we are very limited as to what we can do. We’ve basically over the years lost control of those things,” Wysong said. “In turn, they want us to feel like we’re a physician-led organization, we’re in control, but in reality, we absolutely have no control. That to us is very, very frustrating.”