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May 22

6 Reasons Some Providers Want to Stay Independent

If it seems as though more and more medical practices are directly affiliated with hospitals or large care systems today, that’s because increasingly they are. The healthcare industry has been largely shifting further from the traditional private, independent practice model, and yet not all providers are wanting to join their local health system. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at why the providers who have decided to remain independent make that decision. Let’s get started.

What is the breakdown of independent providers versus those employed by hospitals or health systems?

There has been a big shift in where and how physicians are employed over the past decade. According to a study conducted by the AMA, physicians working independently fell 13% between 2012 and 2022, from 60.1% to 46.7%. At the same time, the number of physicians working as employees or contractors for hospitals increased from 5.6% to 9.6%. Additionally, over the same decade, physicians working in organizations at least partially owned by a health system or hospital increased from 23.4% to 31.3%.

6 Reasons Providers Want to Stay Independent

As you can see, a significant number of providers are choosing to forego the prospect of private practice in favor of working as an employee. There are those, however, that wish to stay independent for a variety of reasons. Here are six of those reasons:

  1. Autonomy and Control: Independent physicians have greater autonomy in decision-making regarding patient care, practice management, and business operations. They can set their own schedules, choose which services to offer, and maintain control over the direction of their practice.
  2. Flexibility: Independent physicians often have more flexibility in how they practice medicine and interact with patients. They can tailor their practice to meet the needs of their patient population and implement innovative approaches to care delivery without having to adhere to corporate protocols or policies.
  3. Financial Incentives: While independent practice comes with financial challenges such as overhead costs and reimbursement uncertainties, some physicians find that they can potentially earn higher incomes as independent practitioners. They may have more opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures, such as owning ancillary services or participating in value-based payment models.
  4. Patient Relationships: Many physicians value the long-term relationships they build with their patients in independent practice settings. They may feel that they can provide more personalized and continuity of care in this setting compared to larger healthcare systems where patients may see different providers at each visit.
  5. Avoiding Administrative Burdens: Independent physicians may prefer to avoid the bureaucratic and administrative burdens associated with employment by health systems. They may find that running their own practices allows them to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks.
  6. Sense of Purpose and Identity: For some physicians, maintaining an independent practice is a source of professional pride and identity. They may feel a strong connection to their community and see their practice as a vital part of local healthcare delivery.

The landscape of physician employment has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with a notable shift towards employment by hospitals or health systems. Despite this trend, a substantial number of providers continue to opt for independent practice, driven by a number of compelling reasons.

At Henry Schein MicroMD, we are dedicated to helping providers maintain their independence successfully. This is why our simple, customizable, and connected MicroMD EMR and our robust MicroMD Practice Management are both scalable to give providers everything they need without the extras they don’t.

To learn more or get started with MicroMD, visit or call 1-800-624-8832.

About the author,
Crystal Stanton

Crystal is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. Content creation, social media management, and SEO optimization are just a few of her areas of concentration as she seeks to educate clients and prospects alike about the simple, customizable, and connected solutions we offer at MicroMD.

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