Doctors join hospitals, and prices rise in NC

Flocking to hospitals

Until recently, the large majority of physicians worked in doctor-owned practices. But that’s swiftly changing.

Last year, 47 percent of physicians in the U.S. were employed by hospitals – roughly twice the percentage in 2002, according to surveys by the Medical Group Management Association.

That trend is expected to continue, with one health care recruiting company predicting that hospitals could employ as many as 75 percent of all doctors within two years.

About 35 percent of North Carolina cardiologists work for hospitals – almost three times the percentage who did so five years ago, according to a recent survey by the American College of Cardiology.

The N&O story also says Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper is considering use of anti-trust laws to stem the trend and hold down healthcare costs.

Good work by the N&O staff in reporting this. I have faced this situation personally, and I know the sticker shock involved.