“It is part of the broader trend where physicians and hospitals are not only getting paid for the number of patients they treat but how they manage the health of their patients,” Gisby said in a telephone interview.
For cardiologists, the move to hospitals has good and bad aspects, according to Lewandowski, the Wisconsin heart doctor who sold his practice in 2010. While they may gain more stable incomes, doctors often have less freedom over how they care for their patients under strict hospital protocols. Some doctors are also under pressure to see more patients each day when they are employed by a hospital, he said.
“I miss being in private practice and being my own boss,” said Alexander, the Illinois cardiologist. “I would have said 30 years ago that I planned on dying with my boots on, and practicing until I couldn’t practice anymore.
‘‘Now, do I look forward to retirement?’’ he asked. ‘‘Yes. Do I plan on working forever? No.’’