Health system with a plan for physicians is a blessing


In the ever-changing world of healthcare, hospital CEOs can see hiring physicians as a curse. Find out how you can turn it into a blessing.

Q: Why do some hospitals' chief executive officers (CEOs) refer to employing physicians as a curse and others as a blessing?

A: Employing physicians is a direct response to decreased physician profits (take-home pay) and healthcare reform. Some healthcare systems have created detailed strategies to engage physicians and develop networks and continuums of care. Time will tell whether these plans are the correct strategies to fulfill the missions of the healthcare systems. Systems that have a concrete plan to develop, refine, and engage their physician organizations, however, tend to be more successful, and CEOs believe as though the employment model is a blessing.

The curse pertains to the financial issues and promises that were made in the course of recruiting physicians and practices that are no longer sustainable on their own. Most hospital-employed physicians require an investment of $60,000 to $240,000 each per year. The investment is a combination of employment contracts, infrastructure issues, poor reimbursement, and lack of a well-defined strategy.

Answers to readers' questions were provided by Thomas J. Ferkovic, RPh, MS, managing director, and Daniel E. Clark, MBA, senior consultant, SS&G Healthcare Services LLC in Akron, Ohio. Send your practice management questions to Also engage at and

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