Physician-owned hospitals started because many doctors found it difficult to work in the American medical system, due to the bureaucracy and strict regulations. With patient welfare in mind, the more entrepreneurial doctors invested in their own medical facilities, and there are now more than 200 physician-owned hospitals across the United States. If you need surgery or specialist medical treatment, here are five reasons why you should consider a physician-owned hospital.
The principle behind a physician-owned hospital is that people who understand medicine and healthcare get to run the facilities where patient care is so important. In the public healthcare system, many people have a say in how to run a hospital, and management teams on the ground often have limited control over federal and state decision-makers. In a physician-owned hospital, it's the doctors who get to make the business decisions.
Around 75 percent of physician-owned hospitals are specialty hospitals, with a specific focus on a particular aspect of healthcare. These facilities invest in the latest technology to help combat conditions like cancer or heart disease, and continue to invest in these particular areas. Other hospitals must offer a broader range of facilities, and may not have the same level of technology and clinical excellence available to patients.
Bureaucracy, corruption and fraud cost the American healthcare system around $272 billion a year, according to a study by the British Medical Journal. Medicare fraud alone costs nearly $100 billion, and this is partly due to the complicated, bureaucratic nature of the system. Physician-owned hospitals aim to side-step this problem, and work with far fewer administrative hurdles to healthcare.
Physician-owned hospitals do not receive any government funding, and must run like any other business. As such, the management team cannot allow wasteful spending and excessive administrative costs. These facilities can also better align the patient/staff member ratio to avoid unnecessary levels of management and administrators.
Through more effective cost management, physician-owned hospitals are able to offer treatment at lower rates than public hospitals. Physicians working in public hospitals generally work on a fee basis, with a large percentage of the cost the patient pays going towards the hospital. For example, in a public hospital that deals with neurosurgery, reports show that only around 20 percent of income goes to the surgeon.
In a physician-owned hospital, it's not necessary to build such a large margin into the fees, as the hospital and doctors share the same profit base. What's more, despite lower costs in physician-owned hospitals, these facilities generally offer higher standards than public hospitals.
Better patient experience
A 2012 report analyzed hospital performance based on several criteria, including patient satisfaction surveys, readmission rates and multiple clinical care measures. In the top 10 hospitals, only one facility was not under physician ownership, demonstrating how the physician-owned approach to healthcare benefits the patient.
Physician-owned hospitals are generally smaller than public hospitals, and can offer a tailored service to meet patients' needs. Standards in cleanliness and catering are often higher in physician-owned hospitals, and patients generally deal with fewer people, reassuring them that the same doctors and nurses are taking care of them.
Better working environment
It's important that doctors and nurses work in a positive environment because the decisions they make can change people's lives. Doctors and nurses working in physician-owned hospitals face fewer conflicts with other departments, and don't need to work through bureaucracy. As such, they can concentrate on patient care, which creates a much more positive working environment. Indeed, many physician-owned hospitals take up community or charity projects, as they understand the need to build strong relationships with their patients.
Physician-owned facilities often manage their employees in a different way. For example, they can organize the same group of nurses and technicians for each physician, which builds stronger team working and saves time. Public hospitals cannot generally do this, as they must deal with several competing priorities.
Physician-owned hospitals originated because many doctors could see the opportunity to offer better healthcare in a more efficient way. For details of the facilities in your area, go to the Physician Hospitals of America's website and find a hospital near you.