Healthcare News & Insights

Will health reform cause docs to unionize?

Physicians may not seem like the most likely group of employees to want to unionize, but there are solid reasons to think more of them will be looking into it in the near future.  

Notoriously independent physicians may feel they have no choice but to band together in the wake of changes ushered in by the health reform bill.

Already, some doctors who work in government health care organizations are organized, and residents and interns have been known to unionize — or at least attempt to.

While it may seem far-fetched for established physicians to unionize, some experts are taking the possibility seriously.

In its 2010 Health Care Labor Report, the American Hospital Association included increased influence of unionized doctors as one issue to keep an eye on.

If more physicians wind up joining unions, it could have a serious effect on hospitals — far more complicated than other labor groups. Doctors have more intricate payment and incentive systems to take into account, and could make demands for shorter hours, limits on the number of doctors (or other staff) per patient, etc.

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