We speak with physicians and surgeons every day, and by way of our ongoing sampling of attitudes and opinions they are not optimistic or enthusiastic about healthcare reform. Unfortunately, these first hand, from-the-field reports range from “pessimistic” to “survival threat.”
First, there’s the unhappy news. Just last week the results of a national research study quantified the dim outlook. The headline reads, Most Physicians Say Health Care Reform Will Negatively Impact Their Financial Outlook and Patient Care.
This was a study of 600 physicians conducted by Market Strategies International. Among the key findings, the report says:
- Six in ten pediatricians and seven in ten primary care physicians (PCPs) anticipate a decline in the number of physicians in practice as a result of Health Care Reform.
- Fewer PCPs and specialists expect to be accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients after 2014.
- 80 percent of PCPs report that their patients are concerned that they will be negatively impacted by Health Care Reform.
The study clearly shows that doctors “are pessimistic about the impact that certain elements of Health Care Reform will have on their practices and its ability to help them meet or improve the care needs of their patients,” according to Market Strategies.
And, closer to home… The Phoenix Business Insight Examiner wrote about our recent conference in Arizona, with the headline: Phoenix healthcare practices need to efficiently invest in marketing to survive. The news article quotes our own Stewart Gandolf: “The best investments today are in your own business.”
The Examiner article says that with many private practices being acquired by hospitals, and with poorly run facilities succumbing to recession, those small groups of doctors and dentists who want to remain independent will have to become more competitive. One illustration of a practice in transition is East Valley Periodontics in Mesa (AZ) that has acquired a new doctor. Quoting Penny McKinney: “We are trying to ensure that our new, young doctor has all the latest tools needed to ensure the continued success of the company.”
“With changing economic and regulatory environments, more discerning patients, and continuing mergers/acquisitions,” the article concludes, “[healthcare practitioners]…will have to make sound investments in marketing if they expect returns in the future.”