Second Careers for Radiologists

“Do you know of good second careers for radiologists?” This question came from the president of a large radiology group, someone I have spoken with over the past few years, as we discussed the financial constraints that outpatient imaging faces. Though the question was asked tongue-in-cheek (mostly), it was motivated by very real trends hitting the industry.

A few years ago the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) cuts went into effect. This was quickly followed by the Great Recession. Threats of more reimbursement cuts loom on the horizon. The costs for care soars, and revenues don’t keep pace. As a result, some outpatient imaging groups have folded, while many others have sought or accepted buyouts from hospitals. Of course, numerous imaging groups have maintained their independence, but not a single organization has escaped unscathed from recent financial turmoil.

My radiologist/president-friend lamented this realignment in the provider imaging market: “You know, if I had wanted to be a staff radiologist on a salary, I wouldn’t have started my own radiology group and would have gone to work for a hospital instead. Now I fear that one day we may have little choice but to accept acquisition by some hospital partner. It’s getting tougher to be an independent anymore.” In recent years we have seen More Doctors Giving Up Private Practicesfor various reasons, all across the industry. Whether you believe that is a good or a bad thing, it is happening right now, and this trend signals a sea-change for how care is delivered in this country.

What does this mean exactly, on a macro scale? I don’t have the answers, but I am reminded of this truism: a child born tonight has a chance of seeing the 22nd century. And the choices we make today will affect not only the chance that child has of getting there, but also the quality of that future upon arrival.

P.S. Since the World Cup is in full swing… for all our friends in healthcare, regardless of role or specialty, this is for you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiWicbXhQqA

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