Regular readers of JUCM News know mergers between large corporations in previously disparate markets (eg, insurance and provision of healthcare) have been coming fast and furious. Simultaneously, fewer newly minted physicians are choosing primary care as their practice of choice as on-demand healthcare continues to grow. None of these trends occurs in a vacuum, of course—in fact, it’s likely that there are directly links among them, as pointed out in an article just published in The New York Times. The Disappearing Doctor: How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care makes the case that they’re all feeding off each other, in fact. One common link, it contends, is the changing nature of the relationship between healthcare providers and patients. Urgent care continues to grow on increasing patient expectation that care should be available when they want it to be, not during the hours that used to be typical for medical practices. And that has affected specialty practices, as well. The sum: Patients and providers are flocking to urgent care and, considering physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to retail clinics, drawing the attention of insurers—some of whom are no longer content to watch from the outside. The article points out the well-documented rise of hospital ownership of urgent care practices, as well.
NY Times Cites Links Among Mega Mergers, Shrinking PCP Market, Growth of Urgent Care