Denton County Living Well Magazine March/April 2016 - Page 36

OrthoTexas: A Private Practice Weathering the Storm of Hospital Consolidation W ith the tidal wave of hospital consolidation in healthcare, there’s a public perception that patients don’t have a choice when selecting a specialist anymore––this simply is not true. Physician owned, in-network practices continue to thrive and provide the most complete access to the highest quality physicians, therapists, technology, and staff available in the healthcare industry today. OrthoTexas Orthopedics and Sports Medicine celebrates its fifth year as a premier physician owned orthopedic practice, sighting its all-inclusive model as a key differentiator in its success. Knowing the difference between independent and employed physicians can empower patients to make informed choices. As healthcare reform pushes higher reimbursement rates to hospitals, private practices across the country are being forced to either close their doors, or be acquired by hospital groups. CNN reported hospital purchases of physician owned practices increased 30 to 40% over the past five years, which has made finding an independent practitioner increasingly difficult. However, locating one of these hidden gems not only ensures a higher level of personalized care for the patient, but it also helps heal our broken healthcare system. 34 DENTON COUNTY Living Well Magazine | MARCH/APRIL 2016 The Affordable Care Act was architected to incentivize quality of care––not quantity of care, yet hospital acquisition of physician practices has been shown to initiate higher prices. For example, health insurance might pay $1,000 to treat an oncology patient in the doctor’s office, but $5,000 if it’s done in a hospital. What is the reason for the drastic difference? Hospitals have higher operating costs, even if you aren’t utilizing their 24-hour ambulatory care, patients are still paying the significant overhead fees. Independently owned facilities, like OrthoTexas, are not only able to operate more efficiently, but patients are able to see their preferred doctor more quickly. “At OrthoTexas, our patients only pay for what they need,” says Dr. Keith Heier, OrthoTexas Board President, “that’s a big difference when it comes to deductibles and co- insurance.” When doctors aren’t in charge of their practices, many feel patient care takes the first hit, because to an independent doctor, patients are not just a number to meet a quota. Yes, your physician may be less stressed about administrative hassles, but under hospital management, is constrained by numerous layers of administrative policy. Many doctors are forced to see substantially more patients per day, decreasing the time spent with each patient. This model inherently works against fostering a solid doctor-patient relationship. “OrthoTexas was