MOUNT VERNON — A growing trend in the health care field is the direct employment of physicians by hospitals: Rather than the historical arrangement of a doctor being in an independent practice with hospital privileges, the physician is employed directly by the hospital.
Bruce White, CEO, Knox Community Hospital, said hospitals have been employing doctors for about a decade. Since the hospital also employs the office staff, he said, KCH has grown from about 560 fulltime employees to well over 700.
White said KCH looked into the option of employing doctors when a local OB/GYN physician was overwhelmed with the rising costs of malpractice insurance. The physician told KCH he could no longer afford to be in private practice, and asked the hospital to hire him. Since KCH had no model for such an arrangement at the time, the doctor left the area, actually moving out of state.