What differentiates your practice from other specialists in the field?
Our community is blessed with many excellent surgeons, but our community has very few independent medical practices. Physicians working in independent medical practices have the same training and licensure as their hospital counterparts, but they are paid less by insurers for providing the same services. This discrepancy, however, is a benefit for health care consumers who choose independent providers. Because the total cost of services is less, an uninsured patient will have a more manageable bill and the insured patient’s out-of-pocket portion will generally be much less.
What is your practice’s biggest challenge?
Our biggest differentiator is also our biggest challenge: remaining independent in a community with so many hospital-owned practices. When patients need specialty services, primary care physicians employed by a hospital system are more likely to refer patients to other physicians also employed by the same system. Privately owned medical practices are less likely to receive those referrals, so we must seek other opportunities to connect with health care consumers and remind the community that we are a high-quality, lower-cost option.
What are recent trends in health care?
Increasing cost and consolidation. Despite much discussion about the rising cost of health care and the lack of transparency around those costs, health systems across the country continue to consolidate making them the dominate health care providers across multiple communities, cities, and even states. As in all industries, consolidation in health care limits consumer choice and frequently increases cost. Thankfully, the transparency conversation is also trending in health care. We are pleased to be able to offer patients a reasonable and reliable cost estimate prior to procedural services being rendered — whether that is an estimate of out-of-pocket cost for an insured patient or the total cost of services for an uninsured patient.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you or your business?
Privately owned physician groups are small-to-medium size businesses that not only provide jobs but also pay taxes to support community infrastructure.