Healthcare Uncovered Episode 11: Why Some Doctors Are Divorcing Their Hospitals (Dr. Independent)

Dr. Eric Bricker
Dr. Eric Bricker
June 28, 2023

Doctors – have you ever thought about getting a divorce? As in divorcing your hospital? As in going it alone?  

A lot of doctors have decided to part ways with their hospitals, and it’s a trend that is sweeping across the industry.  

I’m breaking it all down in this week’s episode of Healthcare Uncovered.  

Do you know the story of Tryon Medical Partners in Charlotte North Carolina?

It’s a great example that shows us that if doctors don't like the way a hospital is running their practice, they can leave and be successful on their own.

Here’s what happened:

Back in 2018, the 88 mostly primary care doctors of Tryon Medical Partners sued Atrium Health, the hospital system that owned them, to leave and become independent.

They wanted... a divorce.

Some of the doctors' grievances against the hospital system were:  

1. The hospital replaced the nurses in their clinics with medical assistants.

2. The hospital increased the number of patients they needed to see per day and decreased their visit times.  

3. The hospital increased the size of their non-compete agreement from 15 miles to 30.  

In the end, Atrium agreed to let the doctors separate in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.  Guess what happened next? 91,000 of their patients followed them when they left. In fact, Tryon retained over 80% of their patients.

Just one year later Tryon Medical Partners began to offer Direct Primary Care to local employers and have since signed up 30 companies! The program has been a huge success because an independent primary care practice can work to provide better care at lower costs.

What do you do if you're a doctor that does NOT like the way you have to practice within a hospital system?

You essentially have 3 choices referred to as Voice, Exit and Loyalty. It’s a business approach first outlined over 50 years ago by Albert O. Hirschman.

1. Voice: You can speak up and express your dissent on how you and your patients are being treated by the hospital system.

2. Exit: You can leave. You can find another job or depending on the circumstances, become an independent physician. Many primary care doctors are opening Direct Primary Care practices and going independent. In fact, there are approximately 1,200 Direct Primary Care practices in America today.

3. Loyalty: You just go along and make the best of a bad situation.

Look -- it’s a lot to consider and regardless of your choice, it will not be easy. But you are not alone. We are all in this together and I encourage you to talk with your colleagues. The first step might be just having a conversation.

And keep in mind that if you do think it’s time for a 'divorce', there are some good options to  help you get your the Nomi Health Open Network.

Healthcare shouldn’t be complicated. Check out Nomi Health’s Open Network of physicians to break through the red tape, collect the money you’ve earned, and get back to why you’re doing this in the first place.... helping patients.

Join the Nomi Open Network

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