Doctors Driven to Bankruptcy- Could Concierge Medicine Have Saved Them?

By Parija Kavilanz @CNNMoney April 8, 2013

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
As many doctors struggle to keep their practices financially sound, some are buckling under money woes and being pushed into bankruptcy.

It’s a trend that’s accelerated in recent years, industry experts say, with potentially serious consequences for doctors and patients. Some physicians are still able to keep practicing after bankruptcy, but for others, it’s a career-ending event. And when a practice shuts its doors, patients can find it harder to get the health care they need nearby.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by physician practices have spiked recently, noted Bobby Guy, co-chair of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s health care committee, who tracks bankruptcy trends tied to distressed businesses. Guy said there were at least eight filings in recent weeks, which he said was “very unusual.”

Five years ago, Plantation, Fla.-based bankruptcy attorney David Langley didn’t have a single doctor as a client. Since then he’s handled at least six bankruptcy cases involving doctors. Two current clients — an orthopedic surgeon and an OB/GYN — also are in bankruptcy.

None of his physician clients had malpractice lawsuits that landed them in dire financial straits. All are “top-notch doctors,” he said.

The weak economy has taken a toll on doctors’ revenue, as consumers cut back on office visits and lucrative elective procedures, said Guy, a bankruptcy attorney in Nashville with Frost Brown Todd LLC.
Doctors also blame shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, and the rising costs of malpractice insurance, drugs and other business necessities for making it harder to keep their practices afloat.

Read the full story for stories about who is going bankrupt and why they are going broke and cannot stay afloat.

FULL STORY

For those doctors citing low reimbursements and rising costs associated with regulations and liability, could concierge medicine have saved them? A concierge doctor is free from the dependence on reimbursements but still has to deal with the rest of the package. Some proponents of concierge medicine point out that the concierge doctor has a reduced overhead and higher income level because they deal directly with the patients for payments. However the concierge doctor now has the increased burden of practice marketing and delivering a advanced level of care to the patients. Concierge medicine is not for every doctor. The model is currently popular with primary care physicians, pediatricians,  and OB/GYN practices. Concierge medicine models are also now expanding to specialist.

 

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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