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It's hard out there for a private practice

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | July 23, 2012
From the July 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Recently, I accompanied my wife to a prenatal checkup (feel free to recommend names for girls!). During the visit, my curiosity kicked in and I asked the doctor a load of questions. Beyond the direct questions about our baby, I asked her about her practice and questions about the general state of health care. She shared some amusing anecdotes about portable ultrasound - yes, they're really useful. Yes, they're very portable. Yes, she has worked at facilities where patients have stolen them.

Beyond that, we talked about practicing medicine in New York, or in my home state of New Jersey. It's a tough time now. Reimbursements are smaller and the paperwork more tedious even as providers prepare for a potential influx of new patients. She also talked about the difficulties of running a private practice. In part, the medical clinics, those poor second-class citizens to the area hospitals, are anything but second-class when it comes to income. Clinics are getting the big reimbursements and hospitals in the area are having a tough time staying afloat as "super clinics" move into the area.

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Another overwhelming challenge is the cost to run a private practice. Her close friend still struggles to run a private practice, but after dealing with cost of the space, paying staff, equipment and an increasing malpractice insurance premium (even though she's never had a claim filed) her net profit at the end of the year is south of $40,000. Considering that tuition interest rates have recently skyrocketed, I wonder how we'll have enough doctors coming into practice to handle the growing number of patients. I'd love to hear feedback from you on the state of the health care industry in your state, so I invite you to email me and sound off.

Before closing this month's letter, I'd like to acknowledge a group of people that have far more industry knowledge than I could ever hope to have. DOTmed Business News is proud to welcome the members of our first-ever editorial advisory board. To the right, you'll see the names of some true health care visionaries. I'm confident that with their guidance, DOTmed Business News will become a greater resource for you and the rest of our audience.

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