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Some recent data suggests that physicians in private practice may have a slow start in 2009.  This includes information from the American Hospital Association (AHA) which indicates that physicians are seeking more financial shelter from hospitals who typically provide a portion of a physician’s income through on-call responsibilities and basic employment. 

Additional data from Medical Meetings and Medscape Medical News indicates that physicians may be planning to attend less continuing education in 2009, and that physicians have been receiving less in gifts from patients through the holiday season (respectively).  A result of the economic slowdown for sure, these are only a few of the ways in which physicians may be impacted as we enter 2009.

This article from Medscape provides some very relevant information about the impact of the economy for physicians, as well as some useful ideas for ways to cushion the economic blows that are sure to be delivered in the first half of 2009.

Although most physicians are not losing their jobs or homes, they’re nonetheless feeling the repercussions of the recession that began in December 2007 and deepened during the financial crisis in the fall of 2008

Also, the payment cycles of commercial insurers may have temporarily softened the effect of the recession for physicians who enjoyed crowded waiting rooms in late 2008. By that time, many if not most insured patients had met their annual deductible, motivating them to load up on needed care before year’s end while it was less expensive. Dr. Lipkis said that’s the reason why the last few months of 2008 were busier than usual for her. Come January 2009, the prospect of shouldering the entire cost of an office visit or procedure may discourage insured patients from making an appointment.

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Click here or call (888) 827-5613 for information on a free program dedicated to helping private practices throughout the U.S. strategically adjust to the slowing economy.  Free program runs through March 31st, 2009 and is open to practice owners and administrators of any healthcare discipline.

Tannus Quatre PT, MBA is a practice consultant and principal with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a national healthcare consulting and management firm located on the west coast.  Tannus can be reached through the Vantage Clinical Solutions website by clicking here.