As healthcare delivery shifts from fee-for-service, episodic care to pay for performance and population health, both hospitals and physicians are looking for new forms of integration. A number of regulations and restrictions govern physician relationships with hospitals. In this paper, we review the legal basis for such relationships and the options available. We also survey neurosurgeons and hospital executives to gain their perspective on the current situation and likely future. Two series of structured interviews were conducted with 10 neurosurgeons who work in a range of situations in diverse markets, and with Memorial Hermann Healthcare System senior executive leadership. Their responses form the basis for the subsequent discussion. Neurosurgeons can be independent, join a confederation such as an Independent Physician Association or another type of "clinically integrated" network, or be employed by a hospital, medical school, or physician group. With varying levels of integration comes the strength of size, management expertise, negotiating leverage, economies of scale, and possibly financial advantages, but with impact on autonomy and independence. Constructive alignment can lead to a win-win situation for both the individual physician and the organization, but options vary widely due to heterogeneous local conditions. This paper reviews possible relationships, moving along a spectrum from no financial integration to full integration. Concepts such as physician leasing, professional service agreements, "clinical integration," and employment are presented. This paper offers a practical reference that might be useful to a new graduate, independent neurosurgeon considering integration, or employed physicians considering alternatives.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology