Spine surgeons report diminishing reimbursement; what Dr. Brian Gantwerker thinks will happen next

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | November 14, 2017 | Print  |

Brian Gantwerker, MD, is a neurosurgeon at The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles. Here, he shares his key thoughts on the trends and benefits for spine surgeons in private practice.

Dr. Gantwerker will be speaking at the Becker's 16th Annual Future of Spine + The Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference. To learn more and register, click here. Contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com or Kristelle Khazzaka at Kkhazzaka@beckershealthcare.com for further information about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.


Question: What trends are present for spine surgeons in private practice?


Dr. Brian Gantwerker: The clearest trends are diminishing reimbursements and a trend towards practice consolidation. The pressures of increased regulatory requirements are pushing doctors to leave private practice and to seek the (possibly) safe umbrella of employment. Of those coming out of residency or

training, they seem to either not want or cannot function in a private practice situation. As to why we are seeing diminishing reimbursements I would guess that the main method is insurance companies are trying to squeeze more profit out of the insured and pay less to the physicians. It's not clear to me the logic

behind paying less to quality doctors. My overall feeling is that more doctors will opt out of insurance completely to counter the trend.


Q: What are the benefits and challenges of spine surgeons practicing independently?


BG: The main benefit of private practice is the ability to pick and choose the cases one does. If I am not comfortable with a case, I can decide to refer it out. As an employee, you will most likely need to take care of or operate on whatever cases come in the door. My schedule flexibility is also entirely at me and my

office’s discretion. I am able to flex or down my office hours depending on necessity or last-minute schedules. I am also able to work on some really cool projects that fascinate me, like a VR project, or a book that I hope to write with my brother. This is besides taking my son to swimming and hopefully, to baseball

next year.


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