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Physicians Must Think Outside of the Box if They Want to Avoid Hospital Employment

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As physicians who are looking for jobs, the marketplace is often a confusing, befuddling place. For some physicians, determining the best direction for their career is often a wearying proposition and many physicians are simply leery of the options before them, especially since the cons almost always seem to outweigh the pros.

Kenneth J. Terry, MA, over at Medscape senses this frustration. And while hospital employment may no longer be the best choice for physicians, especially as acquisitions of practices slow down in some parts of the country, going it alone isn’t exactly a better alternative either, he writes.

In fact, if you’re a job-seeking physician who has contemplated the solo approach, Terry warns that there are many factors to consider first, including your financial stability and the level of hunger you have for autonomy.

Beyond these two factors, however, Terry looks at the healthcare industry itself, especially under the expansion of value-based reimbursements. If you think it’s a tough haul to be a one-man show now, just wait, he writes, because “small practices will find it increasingly difficult to go it alone.”

For those who are adamant about not seeking hospital employment, Terry recommends joining or helping to form a physician organization that “can still do business with the hospital.” The way the marketplace is now, as a physician, you’re simply going to have to have some kind of a relationship with the local hospital community.

Alice Gosfield, a Philadelphia-based healthcare attorney, elaborates: “Affiliations [with hospitals] are worth considering, but it doesn't mean you have to give up your autonomy to link with likeminded physicians. Clinical integration is the sine qua non for all physicians, no matter what environment they're living in—whether they're employed, or in an independent practice association (IPA) or a mega group, or in a clinically integrated network.”

Perhaps it’s time to see what other physicians in your area are thinking about their futures. You’ll probably discover that they have the same fears and concerns, and that point of commonality could serve as a unifying point and it may even serve as a motivating factor for you to join forces with your colleagues.

Regardless, perhaps it’s time to think outside of the box, as Terry urges, and look at some of the other options that are out there for you, options that we’ll be breaking down in the next several blog posts.

As you plan the future of your career, are you as a physician adamantly against finding employment with a hospital? Are you also aware of the underlying risks of pure autonomy? How are these industry factors affecting your job search?

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