Tags: survey | doctors | small | practices

Survey: Quarter of Doctors in Small Practices Could Close

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012 05:47 PM

One-quarter of U.S. physicians owning practices with 10 physicians or fewer foresee closing their practices within a year due to the financial environment, a new study concludes.

MDLinx conducted the survey in April among 673 physicians, including 254 small-practice owners and partners.

Overall, 17 percent of physicians in private practice believe their practices could close within a year if their financial situation does not improve. Twenty-six percent of physicians in small practices report their practices could close within a year.

In addition, 31.7 percent of physicians in smaller practices said that 2012 would be one of their worst years in terms of earnings, while only 13 percent of those in larger practices or hospitals reported that.

“There was a marked disparity in the physician’s financial situation and morale tied to the size of their current work environment,” said Stephen Smith, chief marketing officer for MDLinx, which provides services to the healthcare industry.

Moreover, 53.1 percent of smaller-practice physicians reported having their personal pay decline compared with 32 percent of larger-practice and hospital-based physicians.

Those in smaller practices also reported decreasing personnel and services (49.1 percent) and using personal savings (22.8 percent) and borrowing (20.1 percent) to cover operating expenses

“This poll is quite startling in the revelations about small practices, the healthcare lifelines to many communities,” said Smith. “Physicians have had missiles raining in on their practices at an increasing pace—the economy, regulations, paperwork, insurance, lawsuits, etc.”

According to CNNMoney, one survey respondent said,“The general trend is lower reimbursements and higher overhead costs including payroll, overhead, business and insurance costs. Small practices may become extinct if this trend continues.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Thursday.

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