The Road to Extinction: Oncology Private Practice

This article in The New York Times details the reasons why private oncology practices are being forced to consolidate to stay afloat.

cancer

chemotherapy

When Jeffery Ward, MD, a specialist, and his partners sold their private practice to the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, the hospital built them a new office suite 50 yards from the old place. The practice was bigger, but Dr Ward saw the same patients and provided just like before. On the surface, nothing had changed but the setting.

But there was one big difference. Treatments suddenly cost more, with higher co-payments for patients and higher bills for insurers. Because of quirks in the payment system, patients and their insurers pay hospitals and their doctors about twice what they pay independent oncologists for administering cancer treatments.

There also was a hidden difference—the money made from the drugs themselves. Cancer patients and their insurers buy chemotherapy drugs from their medical providers. Swedish Medical Center, like many other others, participates in a federal program that lets it purchase these drugs for about half what private practice doctors pay, greatly increasing profits.

Read the article in The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1uRDbiN