Hospital employment vs. private practice — Orthopedic surgeons taking note of pros and cons: 8 observations

Practice Management

Time Magazine reports that orthopedists earn the highest salaries of anyone in the medical field, with an average annual salary of $443,000. However, a physician's decision to enter a private practice or seek employment at a hospital will ultimately impact his or her salary and career path.


 Here are eight things to know:


1. Orthopedic surgeons who are partners in a private practice earn roughly $480,000, while orthopedic surgeons working in hospitals earn $396,000.


2. Louis F. McIntyre, MD, of Westchester Orthopaedics in White Plains, N.Y., argues that having complete control over his operations, schedule, staffing and other decisions related to patient care may outweigh any potential downsides of private practice.


3. Dr. McIntyre pointed out that while initial hospital job offers offer orthopedic surgeons high pay and good incentives, the surgeon has little to no leverage once under contract, and often doesn't receive the same incentives in future renewal contracts.


4. He argues that surgeons can strive to be outcome-driven in their private practices, whereas hospital administrators may prioritize a process-driven system that does not do enough for the surgeon or the patient.


5. Ian J. Alexander, MD, of Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus explains that current and upcoming changes to the reimbursement system are likely to reduce surgeon pay, jeopardizing private practice's existence and success.


6. Dr. Alexander noted that hospitals are the largest employers in many cities across the United States, thereby reducing the impact of future healthcare legislation.


7. He believes that the security afforded to hospital-employed surgeons is critical in the ever-changing world of healthcare.


8. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons assists doctors who are currently evaluating employment options via their practice evaluation inventory.


More articles on practice management:

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