The 'corporate takeover' of medicine is threatening physicians 

As more and more physicians become employed, many leaders are concerned about a subsequent lack of autonomy and representation. 

Marsha Haley, MD, clinical assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, joined Becker's to discuss the workforce trends she's worried about and the payer behavior she's eyeing. 

Question: What physician workforce trend is concerning you the most currently?

Dr. Marsha Haley: Most physicians are employed, yet from a corporate standpoint, they are still treated as independent practitioners. For example, most physicians do not have collective bargaining agreements/union representation, which places them at a disadvantage when negotiating with large health systems. Noncompetes severely limit where and when physicians can practice. The corporate takeover of medicine by private equity can leave physicians at risk of malpractice due to understaffing and high patient ratios. Essentially, the employed physician has little control over his or her working conditions, and employed physicians need better representation.

Q: What payer behavior would you like to see changed in 2024?

MH: Prior authorization has become burdensome for the majority of clinicians. It used to be that PA was used in cases of unusual or very expensive therapies. Now, PA is used for everyday treatments, or for treatments that a patient has been stable on for many years. It serves no medical purpose other than to slow down and delay treatment. In my field of radiation oncology, we often see delays in starting cancer treatments. I would like to see PA reform enacted so patients can start treatments without unnecessary delays.

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