Posted by: Christopher Maloney, Naturopathic Doctor | April 5, 2011

The Death of Private Medical Practice?

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Evidently, there are still a few M.D.s and D.O.s in private practice.  Most patients don’t realize that the vast majority of their doctors are salaried employees of the local hospital system.  They’ve given up their autonomy for the sake of increased medicare and medicaid payments. 

But a few diehards out there are still trying to do it on their own without an organization to manage all the necessary paperwork.  This may be coming to an end in the next few years. 

According to our government, all practitioners taking medicaid or medicare will need to be electronic or face fines in the future.  There is an incentive program for individual doctors to do this, $44,000 per office. 

It sounds like a really good deal, until you start doing the long term math.  Even huge organizations like the Mayo clinic are having trouble being 100% compliant with what Medicare and Medicaid want available to them as feedback about patients. 

So individual doctors will get the initial money and be on the hook for life to be compliant when even the big boys can’t make the cut.  Of course, there’s always an alternative:  give up your private practice and let another level of bureaucracy within the hospital system take care of you. 

Either way, it’s the end of the last private practitioners. 

As an N.D., I’ve been left out of the medicare/medicaid insurance pie.  So I have a feeling when they come grumbling at my door, I can point them on down the road.  I don’t get the payout, so I don’t need to follow the compliance rules.  Government insurance is a big dog.  It pulls you a long way, but when it turns on you, lights out. 

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