Independent doctors are a vanishing breed. Hospitals have spent decades scooping up physician groups to build large, powerful health-care systems. The rationale was to increase efficiency and save money but often the opposite occurred. In fact, lots of evidence shows that consolidation in health care has driven prices higher. And both physicians and patients increasingly feel that big health systems and insurance companies have too much sway over what happens in the exam room. A few years ago, a group of doctors in Charlotte, North Carolina, decided they’d had enough. They split from the big hospital system that owned their practice to strike out on their own. They’re betting that they can be more competitive, and serve their patients better, independent of their former owners. In this episode of Prognosis, we tell the story of how one doctors’ group bucked the trend toward more concentrated health-care markets, and what it might mean for the future of the U.S. health-care system.