What is an Independent Doctor?

Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2016 in General Health News

Since the 1990s, private physicians and their practices have been labeled by a variety of names: independent practice, direct care practices, and retainer practices.

Whatever you call them, all independent practices have one commonality: placing health care choices in the hands of physicians and their patients, instead of an impersonal, standardized, difficult-to-navigate health care system.

Why does this matter to you?

Because you want a doctor whose primary focus is you. As the American Academy of Private Physicians point out, "Much of what you probably hate about the health care system, your doctor hates just as much. Wait times are too long. Appointments are too short. And medical decisions that should be made by you and your doctor are often too heavily influenced by decisions made by payers."

When you choose a physician like those at Signature Medical Group in St. Louis and Kansas City , you are getting a doctor who has chosen to remain independent and is not part of a referral-based stream of revenue for a hospital.

So, I'm paying more when I don't go to an independent doctor?

In most cases, yes. And with today's high-deductible plans, cost is a much bigger concern for most patients than it was in the past, when their employers picked up the tab for care. An independent physician can help you get both quality and value in your health care, helping you to coordinate health choices and referring you to more cost-effective care. The best news of all is that price is not an indicator of quality, and paying less doesn't mean you have to compromise on care.