Hospitals Buying More Doctors' Practices

Liv Osby | USA Today | September 4, 2013

The question is whether costs will decrease, patients will benefit in long run.

Hospitals across the country are buying more physician practices as they prepare to move away from fee-for-service reimbursements to a system that pays for treatments focusing on outcomes and cost containment.

Greenville Health System employs 750 doctors and another 250 nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System here has about 250 and expects to hire more.

"I didn't want to be bought. I wanted my independence," said Dr. Carolyn Fields, who became a St. Francis employee in June after spending almost 28 years running her own primary care practice, seeing patients, hiring staff and managing payroll. "But it's becoming more and more difficult. And I got tired of all that."