Hospitals are seeking tighter partnerships with physicians to temper increasingly strained relations between the two provider groups, a researcher from the Center for Studying Health System Change said at a conference sponsored by the center.
Hospitals are having an increasingly hard time achieving physician allegiance, said Hoangmai Pham, a senior researcher at the center. Physicians are competing with hospitals for profitable services by forming their own specialty hospitals, and theyve become less willing to carry out traditional medical staff activities, such as taking on emergency room or on-call duties, Pham said.
As a result, hospitals are seeking joint ventures with physicians or employing more types of physicians to stave off competition, she said. While it may be a way for hospitals to stay in business, investors have not seen large returns from these partnering arrangements, she added.
Physician-owned specialty hospitals have the potential to erode full-service community hospitals, and pose conflict-of-interest problems, said Carmela Coyle, senior vice president for policy at the American Hospital Association, who spoke at the conference. Another panelist, Don Fisher, president and chief executive officer of the American Medical Group Association, said that proper reimbursement and the right kinds of incentives would help improve hospital-physician relations.
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