One large session at AAOS this year engaged an audience of orthopedic surgeons around the questions of hospital-based employment, which for 43 percent of the audience (as counted by session attendee touch-screen voting) was something they already had or were considering doing. While the panel of discussants had both employed and non-employed physicians, as well as a hospital CEO and an academic that had studied physician alignment issues, all were in agreement around why today employment was a major question for physicians. The rising costs and growing administrative burden of running a private practice, coupled with threatened reductions in reimbursement and increased regulations, has elevated the question of employment for most orthopedic surgeons. Most agreed on the hospital perspective as well--having employed physicians can help the hospital gain market share, stabilize their staff, control costs, all while engaging physicians on improving and demonstrating quality outcomes.
AAOS 2011: Is Hospital Employment the Solution?
My colleague Zach Binney has been keeping tabs on the proton therapy landscape, and wrote this nice piece on some recent developments: Roughly seven months after ProCure's first center came online in Oklahoma City, the third party proton therapy facilitator and financier closed financing for its third center, a joint venture with a health system (CentraState Health System) and radiation oncologist group (Princeton Radiation Oncology) in Somerset, New Jersey.
Somerset is only 60 miles away from the Roberts Proton Therapy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While two proton centers have never operated in such close proximity before, the area's high population density -- the site is located an approximately 30 minute drive from downtown New York City -- will likely alleviate competitive concerns. A full-scale facility is capable of treating approximately 1,500 patients per year, but the exact number of "proton therapy-eligible" patients in this region is difficult to gauge, as it is highly dependent on patient and physician preferences. Whether prostate cancer patients will flock to the facility in large numbers, for example, will depend in part on whether their referring physicians and the center's radiation oncologists feel protons are justifiable for the tumor site.
Proton Competition Accelerating in Northeast