Integrated practices dominate employment model

In a sign of the times, almost 70 percent of physician groups reported they are employed or are in the process of being employed by a hospital. That is one of the many findings presented in the soon-to-be released 2013 MedAxiom Provider Compensation & Production Survey.

“This year for the first time in our history, the number of hospital integrated practices (78) outnumbered the private groups (45),” analysts wrote.

The survey compiles data from MedAxiom’s resources for a report that MedAxiom said will set the stage for benchmarking cardiovascular practices under healthcare reform. The report focuses on the shift from volume to value, including data on workforce issues, compensation and productivity.

Among the trends cited in the report is greater participation by cardiovascular specialists in financial decision-making. “[W]e’re seeing more and more hospitals engaging physicians through co-management agreements, where physicians take an active role in managing services—not just looking at quality, but also at cost,” the authors observed. Forty-six percent of cardiology groups penned a co-management agreement with a hospital.

Other highlights in the report:

  • Quality improvement is the leading cardiovascular service line initiative;
  • Patient satisfaction and readmission top the list for cardiovascular service line performance measures;
  • Among those reporting being integrated with a hospital, physician compensation increased for 80 percent;
  • Almost 30 percent will renegotiate terms in 2014.

“Integration activity is likely to slow as the pool of groups available for acquisition shrinks,” according to the report. “With so many moving parts it is impossible to predict where compensation ends up. What is known is that the next several years will be telling on the integrated side, as there is a bolus of renegotiations coming.”  

MedAxiom surveys its membership each spring about financial issues, workforce topics and demographics. The 2012 annual survey included 129 practices representing 1,748 full-time physicians.

Full survey findings and analysis will be released at MedAxiom’s Cardiovascular Service Line Symposium, which will be held June 12-14 in Atlanta. The symposium is co-sponsored by Cardiovascular Business and the American College of Cardiology.