PHYSICIANS’ HEALTH NETWORK: A UNIQUE OPTION IN YOUR HEALTHCARE DECISION We all make many decisions in our life, but few are as complicated as decisions we make concerning our healthcare.
Nationwide, binding physician affiliations and expanding healthcare systems have grown dramatically over the years. As a result, very few independent healthcare practices have survived. Approximately 20 years ago more than half of U.S. physicians were independent. Today less than one third of U.S. physicians are independent. “This is significant because studies show that when independent practices decrease, healthcare costs go up and quality and satisfaction go down,” said Michael D. Johnson, MD, President of Physicians Health Network (PHN), and an internal medicine specialist from Sheboygan Internal Medicine Associates (SIMA).
Everyday hospitals and private equity groups are buying up medical practices turning independent doctors into employees. That trend is not healthy for patients or for doctors and it hurts our health-care system. When doctors give up their independence to work for health systems, studies show that health-care costs go up, quality goes down, access to care is limited, jobs are lost, communities suffer financial harm, and doctors AND patients feel less satisfied. Everybody pays. – The Association of Independent Doctors. PHN is largely comprised of independent healthcare providers in Sheboygan County. A practice that is not considered self-owned may still be a member of PHN due to its deep ties to independent healthcare and a desire for a vast referral base in the community.
Independent physicians have more freedom than doctors in large medical groups and systems. This is because independent physicians are self-employed and responsible for their own practice management and have the advantage of negotiating contracts for their own services or suppliers such as radiology, laboratories, or hospitals.
According to Dr. Johnson, “As an independent physician, I am not confined by the policies or politics of a large health care system. I can take time to get to know my patients, listen to them, answer their questions, understand their concerns and health goals, and form a physician/patient partnership to help them achieve their healthcare goals.”
PHN physicians make referrals, when needed, based on their patients’ needs, conditions, and preferences, and are not mandated by their network membership. “Our members are committed to their patients and when a referral is needed, while they may prefer to choose a provider within PHN, they are not bound, by their PHN affiliation, to do so,” said Dr. Johnson.
There are also unique guiding principles that tend to set independent physicians apart from larger system practices, such as:
http://www.aid-us.org/ https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/independent-physician-associations.html https://1800health.com/general/health-plans/how-to-choose-the-correct-medical-group-or-ipa/ https://www.elationhealth.com/independent-practices-blog/ipas-v-medical-groups/