A national trend among physicians is also rearing its head in Indiana — private practice doctors who are struggling to stay afloat financially. Medical insiders blame the problem on shrinking insurance reimbursements, unpredictable regulations and rising business and drug costs.
Dr. Fred Ridge of Linton says he is about to join up with a practice in Bloomington.
“Doctors have basically had their wages frozen as far as Medicare is concerned since 2001,” Ridge says. “The other insurances follow along with that and then on top of that, they have all these new regulations and things.”
And Ridge says he is not the only Linton doctor looking for other work.
“Three of the other doctors within our community — and we‘re talking there‘s only six doctors in this area that are still admitting people to this hospital,” Ridge says. “Three of the others became hospital employees with the last six months to keep from going broke.”
Ridge says many tests and procedures now require medicare approval. With Medicare reimbursements facing continual cuts, doctors say they lose out. Currently, about half of all doctors nationwide operate a private practice. However, insiders expect to see a steep drop in that figure if current trends continue.