Challenges Impact Physicians’ Choice of Specialties

Patrick Sweeney, M.D., spinal surgeon, inventor and owner of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery in Mokena, IL, believes that private surgerypractitioners are under enormous stress right now, primarily in terms of overhead and contracting with insurance companies and other referral sources.  Dr. Sweeney says there is a strong possibility that traditional private practitioners may become a thing of the past over the next five to 10 years, given the way the healthcare system is evolving.

In a recent interview for the Alter+Care Podcasts on Healthcare, Dr. Sweeney noted that “A few powerful payers control a good share of our reimbursement market.”  Reimbursement issues also are luring younger physicians to work in large hospital-owned practices — where the financial risk is limited — and in lower-pressure specialties with less legal exposure and shorter work hours.  That’s bad news because it means that fewer new physicians are choosing to specialize in essential fields like general surgery, OB/GYN, ENT and neurosurgery, areas where critical shortages already exist.

To listen to Dr. Sweeney’s full interview on the challenges facing today’s and tomorrow’s physicians, please click here.

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