A survey of 140 physicians by the law firm of Brach Eichler of Roseland found that 45.5 percent are considering changing their present structure in 2013, with half saying they are thinking of integrating their practice with another healthcare organization.
Another 36 percent say they may hire other practitioners, and 19 percent say they may contract with a healthcare facility.
The major driver for merging practices is competition, as a result of other practices merging. Reducing inefficiencies was the second major driver.
Overall, physicians say they have a less positive outlook about the future of their medical practice (61.8 percent) due to the Affordable Care Act and its unknowns. Indeed, about 53 percent of those surveyed said they thought the mandate to purchase health insurance would have a negative impact on their practice. Joseph Gorell, a healthcare partner at the law firm, pointed to this response as an example of the misinformation and confusion among physicians about Obamacare.
“For instance, many assume that their patient loads will increase while their reimbursements will continue to decrease. It’s clear that more education is needed about the act’s implications,” he said.
John Fanburg, managing member and head of the healthcare practice at the firm, noted that reimbursement will not decrease under the ACA, although how physicians will be reimbursed will certainly change. “The system under the ACA is geared to promote efficiency and quality; we expect that those physicians that run their practice efficiently and with a focus on quality will do well in this regard.”