The US Healthcare Industry Collapse threatens every doctor's practice

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

The writing is on the wall as the US Healthcare delivery "System" begins to crumble and fail, leaving patients and doctors out in the cold.

Here are 4 signs of the rapidly approaching Thelma and Louise moment for healthcare.

AND what you need to do to protect your practice and your livelihood NOW

Imagine YOU were a doctor working within one of the systems below, when the hammer came down. Each of these macro events instantly destroys the performance of your care team and your practice EVERY TIME !

DON'T just sit there waiting for the pink slip that kicks you to the curb without warning.


  • Learn how to design and build out your Ideal Practice - here and now. 

  • Learn how and when to trigger a rapid job change - so you always have better options.

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EXAMPLE #1 The Collapse of US Rural Hospitals

Last year the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform released a report listing 646 US rural hospitals (30% of all rural hospitals) at risk of closure with 200 hospitals at "immediate risk" of closure across the nation. In December of 2023 the state of Kansas announced that 58% of their rural hospitals were at risk of closing and 82% were losing money on patient care.

Huge swaths of the USA are about to permanently lose their only source of local healthcare access. One day you will wake up and there will be no local hospital and everyone will be out of a job.

Example #2 The Collapse of Urban Hospital Systems

Being in a more urban and densely populated location will only be a temporary buffer from a similar fate.

As you read this, a 9-hospital system in Massachusetts is failing even after over $150 million worth of funding from the state to try and keep it on its feet. The headline this week said that Mass. General Brigham was pulling its doctors from the Steward Health hospitals in the state. Four of the hospitals are slated for immediate closure. 

The Steward Health System employs 16,000 doctors, nurses and other staff and gave no warning prior to a letter written just four weeks ago.

Is your system next? I know one thing for sure, the CFO has probably not shown you the actual system P&L statement, so you probably can't answer that question.

Example #3 The collapse of the biggest groups of all

And the size of of your employer is no protection either, these days.

On May 15th of 2023, Envision Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare networks in the USA with over 25,000 employed providers, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bigger they are the harder they fall and the more people make money putting all the pieces back together again under a new name. 

Example #4 Mergers and Acquisitions continue at record pace.

2023 saw 53 major Hospital mergers headlined by the acquisition of Geisinger by Kaiser Permanente.

From a historical perspective hospital mergers have been a constant feature of the churn of the US healthcare industry. There were 1,887 hospital mergers announced between 1998 through the end of 2021, according to the American Hospital Association. Those mergers reduced the number of hospitals from about 8,000 down to just over 6,000.

And remember many acquisitions are backed by private Equity firms whose only focus is to maximize the return on investment. They don't understand health care, they don't care about patients, it's always and only about the bottom line and they are always bad for the physician's practices.


What is the impact of all this on the workers in the system (YOU)?

Bad, Bad and Worse.

Any of these developments, whether it be a hospital failure, a bankruptcy, a merger or acquisition is detrimental to the health and well-being of the doctors employed by the systems - no matter whether your system is the buyer or the seller.

It disrupts your leadership team, denies you resources, worsens pre-existing staff shortages and often results in a simple pink slip and that box I mentioned earlier.

And as you can see in the examples above, these industry developments happen with no warning and can completely sweep you, your care team and your practice right off its feet.

What's a doctor to do?

My suggestion is you switch to an active action plan to build and protect your ideal practice where you are right now.

One of the key facets of this plan is to be nimble - to be able to find a new and much better job quickly when the circumstances demand it.

Since you never know when the rug is going to be pulled out from under your current situation, always be interviewing.

I suggest all doctors interview at least once a quarter so that you know your value in the market and what opportunities are available. It is important that you be ready and able to jump before you are kicked out the door.

And if you didn't know it, this is a fantastic job market!

This current industry predicament is exactly why we created the Burnout Proof 3-Layer Physician Support ECOSYSTEM.

It contains all the tools, weekly coaching, our fantastic support community of like-minded doctors and over 100 hours of CME.

Best yet, you can try the whole system at no risk with our 30-day ALL ACCESS FREE TRIAL




Has your system been acquired or merged with another or declared bankruptcy?

How did that macro event affect your practice?




Tags: stop physician burnout