Why Physician Ownership Matters

Clinical staffing groups owned by physicians keep control and incentive where they belong—with the clinicians who care for patients.

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This article is sponsored by US Acute Care Solutions.

To navigate the complexities of today’s health care environment and achieve the kind of patient-centered care that underlies the mission of nearly every health system, hospitals require stable yet nimble staffing partners dedicated at the core to meeting the needs of the patient. Who better than practices owned by physicians from the bedside to the board room?

Recognizing the growing trend of corporate ownership of medical practices, independent physician groups began merging in 2015 to found US Acute Care Solutions (USACS) with the goal of creating a physician ownership model that would ensure that control of how and why we practice medicine remains where it belongs—in physician hands. To date, more than 20 groups have joined our practice.

Ninety-eight percent of USACS ownership lies with our physicians, as well as full-time Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) who have completed a proprietary, rigorous training academy. Two percent is held by like-minded non-profit health system partners who sought full financial alignment with our group. The success of the perpetual clinician ownership model is apparent in our growth, our 92.8 percent physician retention rate amid a national labor crisis, and the results of semi-annual Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys that ask our hospital partners whether they would recommend our services. Aggregated NPS ratings range from -100 to 100. A score above 50 is considered world-class. In our most recent survey, USACS scored an outstanding 73. Our partners continually applaud the benefits of the physician ownership model:

Stability

A practice owned by its physicians is unencumbered by the financial volatility of distant, for-profit investment, offering hospitals the potential for stable, long-term partnerships. USACS has the added advantage of diversified risk compared with smaller physician-owned groups. As hospitals and health systems have been drawn to the benefits of our ownership model, our practice has grown to a scale that allows us to absorb losses when needed without being vulnerable to the wellness and whims of a capital partner.

Mission Alignment

Physician-owned practices are free to focus on the satisfaction of our patient care partners, rather than outside investors. Our physicians have the authority to commit resources to flexibly pursue the local initiatives that matter most to health system leaders. In communities across the country, USACS has helped hospitals dramatically reduce readmissions by enhancing the capabilities of skilled nursing facilities, engage and educate emergency medical service providers to increase transfers within health systems, and support community health programs on behalf of hospitals to decrease opioid usage, to name a few examples.

“USACS has been an excellent partner, willing to align with our business and clinical objectives,” says Jack Janoso, Jr., President & Chief Executive Officer of Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio, where USACS provides emergency medicine services. “The physician-owned group brings new patient-serving ideas to the table and understands the difficult landscape for hospitals.”

Top Clinicians

Physicians are naturally attracted to a practice that gives them a voice in governance, transparent access to the inner workings of the group and a share in financial success. As an employer of choice for acute care clinicians, USACS offers our hospital partners top-quality clinicians and retains an average of 93 percent of incumbent physicians and APPs when transitioning programs from competitor practices.

Physician owners drive strategic direction and prioritize investment in areas that facilitate continual delivery of high-quality, accessible care. At USACS, these include clinician wellness and education, evidence-based clinical tools, research and innovation and billing practices that protect patients. These initiatives empower clinicians to practice medicine at a higher level, according to Sanjay Kripalani, MD, an emergency medicine physician in Charlottesville, Virginia, who joined USACS in 2018.

“The result of that is that I feel I am a better doctor today than I was before,” Kripalani says. “The goals of our leaders are the same as the every-day physician: take the best care of patients that we can. There is no other motive.”

US Acute Care Solutions (www.usacs.com) is a physician-owned national leader in integrated acute care, serving nine million patients annually across more than 500 programs in 30 states.

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