Does Private Practice Pathology Have a Future?

IN RECENT DECADES, A PROPORTION OF PATHOLOGISTS has been proud of the fact that the pathology profession—to a large extent—had managed to protect the vast majority of private pathology group practices from any number of powerful trends and market forces.

In the 1990s, HMO contracting practices triggered a major wave of consolidation of hospitals, primary care physician groups, and specialist physicians. Most private pathology groups were able to preserve their independence. It was a similar story in the 2000s, when larger urology and gastroenterology groups (having consolidated during the 1990s into regional supergroups), decided they had enough specimen volume to establish in-house histology labs and anatomic pathology services. Again, most private pathology practices, despite losing access to these specimens, maintained their independence.

Now, in 2016, the anatomic pathology profession faces a fundamental question: Can the business model of the private pathology group practice survive healthcare’s current transition toward integrated clinical care organizations (such as ACOs and medical homes) and a provider payment system that no longer uses fee-for-service, but pays physicians—including pathologists— based on value or with a bundled fee?

THE DARK REPORT is exploring how innovative pathology groups are responding to these trends. In coming months, you will see our incisive analysis of how current healthcare market forces are seriously eroding both the clinical foundation and financial solvency of smaller pathology groups.

To this point, our editorial team is organizing a major event designed to give pathologist-business leaders and their practice administrators a comprehensive view of the transformational forces in healthcare and how innovative pathologists are responding. This will take place at the upcoming Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management, which happens on April 26-27.

Along with the sessions on the business of pathology during those two days, on April 28, a special one-day workshop will bring together the nation’s leading experts. Titled Private Practice Pathology’s Present and Future: What’s Working… What’s Not… with Strategies to Protect and Enhance Pathologist Income, this will be a must-attend event for every pathologist and pathology practice administrator who wants to stay ahead of key trends.


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