Hospitals are Hazardous to Your Practice by Steven Mussey MD

2016-05-03-runfor your lives

Hospitals are hazardous to your practice.

Three decades ago, while I was in Residency, my slightly older colleagues found themselves courted by various hospital systems as they prepared to enter practice. These doctors boasted they were “in the driver’s seat.” The hospitals were going to offer them the sun, the moon and the stars.

A few years later, a pattern emerged. Suddenly, these same fellow doctors were radically changing practice and usually moving to different towns. The story was the same: “The hospital really played me and I fell for it.”

Their advice: “Don’t get close to the hospital. It usually ends badly.”

Yet, many could not resist and, again, did deals with hospitals and, again, were badly burned.

Are hospitals inherently evil? Does hospital administration plot late at night trying to destroy my practice?

Think about the problem of a “lack of shared interests.” It’s huge.

As doctors, we are mere chess pieces. We believe we are special. In reality, we are highly expendable.

And… doctors are attracted to hospitals because hospitals have a lot of money. Does that make a good marriage?

Doctors say: “Hospital administrators don’t have to work. They just get a lot of money.”

Guess what. Hospital administrators say: “We pay these doctors a ridiculous amount of money for not a lot of work.”

As money gets tighter, the venom I hear is getting stronger.


Why do hospital-doctor relationships go bad?

We walk into these things hating each other, pretending to be friends with common goals. We try to kid each other and ourselves that we are the best of buddies.

Soon, the façade crumbles and the real emotions come out.

Maybe it is time to say: “This is not a good marriage. You’re a smooth talker, but you’ll break my heart in the end!”

…Or, when a hospital administrator stops by to “help you,” scream: “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!”

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “Hospitals are Hazardous to Your Practice by Steven Mussey MD

  1. Aryeh
    May 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    After 25 years in practice I completely agree. But for surgeons, especially those of us treating trauma and other complex cases they really are a necessary evil.

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