Majority of America’s Physicians Still Work in Small Practices

CHICAGO — Despite challenges posed by a changing healthcare landscape, a new study by the American Medical Assoc. (AMA) on physician-practice arrangements shows that most physicians provide care to patients in small practices.

“These data show that the majority (60.7{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}) of physicians were in small practices of 10 or fewer physicians, and that practice size changed very little between 2012 and 2014 in the face of profound structural reforms to healthcare delivery,” said AMA President-elect Dr. Andrew Gurman. “The AMA is committed to ensuring physicians in all practice sizes and types can thrive and offers innovative strategies and resources that address common practice challenges in the new health environment.”

While the majority of physicians (56.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}) worked in practices that were wholly owned by physicians in 2014, this majority decreased slightly from 60.1{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2012. In contrast, the share of physicians who worked directly for a hospital, or in practices that had at least some hospital ownership, increased from 29{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2012 to 32.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} in 2014.

Among other changes in physician-practice arrangements between 2012 and 2014:

• The share of physicians who were practice owners decreased from 53.2{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 50.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

• The share of physicians who were in solo practice decreased from 18.4{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 17.1{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

• The share of physicians who were directly employed by a hospital increased from 5.6{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 7.2{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

• The share of physicians in practices with at least some hospital ownership increased from 23.4{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} to 25.6{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

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