DuPage Medical Group Ltd., a giant practice in a Chicago suburb, has learned that money can buy independence.
As financial pressures force both solo practitioners and physician groups to be absorbed by hospitals, DuPage Medical has found a way to resist the trend: It's sitting on a pile of money that would make even the most aggressive health care system think twice before trying to buy it out.
DuPage Medical's enviable position is partly due to its location in the affluent west suburbs. In a historical quirk, its physicians bought back their practice for a third of the original purchase price from a business that morphed into CVS Caremark Corp. But the most important key to its autonomy is that DuPage Medical annually sets aside a chunk of profits to reinvest in the business.
“Usually physicians, from a cultural perspective, want to be rewarded for their efforts rather than put away a ton of retained earnings for a rainy day,” says Jessica Turgon, a Washington-based senior manager in physician practice management at ECG Management Consultants Inc.