“A growing number of U.S. physicians are combining their practices; affiliating with hospitals, insurance companies, and specialty management firms; or going to work directly for such organizations. The moves are part of a broader trend toward consolidation in health care, with the overall number of mergers and acquisitions in the sector at the highest level in a decade. Alterations in physician practice appear to be a response to a number of factors. Younger doctors are more eager than their predecessors to work for an outside institution, such as a hospital, to secure a set schedule and salary. Private practices have become more complex to manage, even as physician compensation has been declining. Doctors see financial advantages to building larger practices, in terms of ability to control expenses and negotiate higher fees with insurers. Further, not all trends are toward consolidation. A small but growing number of doctors are reacting to market incentives by moving in a different direction: creating concierge practices in which they see a limited number of patients who pay an annual retainer.”
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