And while some could reason that Dr. Cutler’s situation—working for a hospital-owned group as opposed to a large multistate group or multispecialty practice—gives him more job security, he could argue the lack of negotiating leverage might give him less. But as he often tells his patients when they ask for a diagnosis: It’s hard to see 10 seconds into the future.
“I don’t want to think I’m sitting here fat, dumb, and happy and they won’t let me go,” Cutler says, knocking on wood. “I just don’t know. Every company … realistically needs to look at everything if they want to survive. We’re potentially on the chopping block, but do you lop off something that costs a million dollars when it saves you five? Are you willing to go back to a time before that?” TH
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.