The physician-hiring meltdown has begun.  Hospitals realized that doctors made lousy employees in the mid ‘90’s when hiring doctors to secure referrals (locking in the cartel) was tried….and failed.  Hospitals are now realizing….well….the same thing.  

One area hospital has made contract renewal subject to the securing of a new pledge:  the doctor must agree that he will abide by salary caps defined by the last contracted year’s compensation.  No matter how many MRI’s or lab tests or “approved” referrals are made in subsequent years, no matter how many patients they see in their office,  these primary care doctors cannot earn an additional dime if they want to continue as employees of this particular hospital.  

The exodus is beginning.  In the 90’s, it was the hospitals that filed for divorce.  This time it will be the doctors who walk away.  This is an extremely anxiety-provoking time for these doctors, as their private practices have been destroyed and the hospitals will extort them with various malpractice policy provisions to discourage their defection.

Kudos to those of you brave enough to walk away.  You will give courage and strength to others who are tempted but not so bold. 

G. Keith Smith, M.D.