Why gastroenterologists are drawn to private practices

Three gastroenterologists joined Becker's to discuss what's drawing gastroenterologists to private practice. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Pankaj Vashi, MD. Chief of gastroenterology/nutrition department and vice chief of staff at CTCA Chicago: Gastroenterologist compensation impacts recruitment. Due to the significant shortage of well-trained gastroenterologists, the private practice groups are willing to pay much more than the academic or institutional hospital systems. New graduates are getting not only well compensated, but also offered a great work-life balance in private practice. That is why more gastroenterologists are driven to private practices.

Adam Levy, MD. Gastroenterologist in Macon, Ga.: Many young gastroenterologists are running away from private practice. This is due to the high cost of educational loans and an environment where hospitals are offering large salaries to graduates. It is difficult for private practice to compete up front due to declining reimbursements. However, physicians with longer-term outlooks are coming to private practice because they understand that private practice offers more autonomy and more potential future earnings. The freedom to steer one's practice without a hospital administrator is a key freedom that many physicians desire, and this is available in private practice. Further, ownership in a practice not only allows autonomy, but strong potential financial upside from owning additional revenue streams and from potential sale of the practice.

Omar Khokhar, MD. Gastroenterologist in Bloomington, Ill.: Gastrointestinal physicians often feel like 'cogs in the system,' which can lead to disillusionment.  A partnership approach is necessary, even in the employed model.


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