Frustrated by the increasing pressures on independent doctors to sell out to hospitals and health systems, doctors in Pennsylvania and Texas have banded together to form the two newest state chapters of the Association of Independent Doctors, the association announced today.
The Pennsylvania and Texas chapters bring the total number of AID state chapters to six.
With this addition, the fast-growing national nonprofit, which also has chapters in California, Florida, New England (Vermont and Maine) and South Carolina, will give local independent doctors a voice on the national stage, and a vehicle through which they can be active locally, said AID Executive Director Marni Jameson Carey.
"When doctors from one area join the association, their collective voice gets louder, and they can better protect their professions," said Carey. The four-year-old association has nearly 1,000 members in 33 states. In forming a state chapter, which requires a minimum of 15 members, the independent doctors recognized that they would be stronger together.
Nationwide, large hospital systems have been aggressively buying up independent doctors and turning them into employed physicians, she said. Studies show that is one of the leading drivers of higher health-care costs.
"AID is working to reverse that trend, which is not good for patients, doctors or communities," said Carey.
"By joining forces with AID, we can bring greater attention to the issues facing independent doctors and their patients," said Cristin Dickerson, MD, a radiologist and partner of Green Imaging. "We must do all we can to protect patients' access to the personalized care offered by independent doctors."
While consolidation in health-care is a national problem that all independent doctors should protect against, states also have regional issues that a concentrated group of local doctors can influence, said Carey.
In Pennsylvania, for instance, hospital mergers are threatening to drive independent doctors to extinction. "Forming a chapter of AID will help us ensure that consolidation doesn't completely wipe out independent doctors, which have been proven to offer the most cost-effective care to patients," said Dr. Anthony Dippolito, a surgeon from Bethlehem, Penn.
The doctors will also benefit from AID's infrastructure, national reach and resources.
Members who opt to make their names public will become part of AID's online directory of independent doctors, a growing database designed to help patients and referral sources find independent doctors.
About the Association of Independent Doctors
Founded in 2013, the Association of Independent Doctors is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping reduce health-care costs by helping consumers, businesses and lawmakers understand the value of keeping America's doctors independent. A fast-growing trade association with 1,000 members in more than 30 states coast to coast, AID is a 501(c)(6) based in Winter Park, Fla. For information, visit www.aid-us.org.