'Autonomy will be nonexistent': The future of orthopedic surgeon independence


Three orthopedic surgeons connected with Becker's to discuss what orthopedic surgeon autonomy will look like in 10 years.

Ask Orthopedic Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting orthopedic care. We invite all orthopedic surgeon and specialist responses.

Next question: What do you think the next generation of orthopedic surgeons will be like? What will they prioritize/what will fall by the wayside?

Please send responses to Riz Hatton at rhatton@beckershealthcare.com by 5 p.m. CDT Thursday, June 8.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Ramy Elias, MD. Medical Director for the Center for Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Cerritos (Calif.) Surgery Center: Unfortunately, at the current pace of change, 10 years from now more surgeons will be employed and autonomy will be nonexistent. As we move to a population-based healthcare delivery model, the needs of the individual patient will be secondary and the doctor-patient relationship will suffer. The only way to slow this down is for doctors to band together and voice our concerns. It might even take a national walkout to get the attention of the public. We owe it to our patients.

Nicholas Grosso, MD. President of MedVanta: I believe deeply in the private practice model of care and I see a bright future for private practice physicians who embrace change. Independent practitioners can deliver care more efficiently, and we are quicker to adapt to change than those employed by large hospitals and health systems. This is particularly true as value-based care increases in popularity. Private practices will continue to succeed as they build the necessary infrastructure to participate in value-based models of care. 

Afshin Mashoof, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Center for Advanced Orthopedics (Fountain Valley, Calif.): Orthopedic surgeons in general want autonomy. It is important  to make our own choices in the type of practice we want. Unfortunately, with the increased cost of running a practice and inflation added in an industry that the cost of goods and expenses are controlled by market forces and reimbursement cannot change, physicians will be forced into employment either by hospital systems or corporate entities. These forces will decrease orthopedic autonomy over the next decade.

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