The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Division of Economic and Health Policy Research recently released is latest study titled: “Updated Data on Physician Practice Arrangements: Inching Toward Hospital Ownership.” [If you are an AMA member you can login to download the study.]
The research shows physicians in small, independent practices are still in the majority, but the trend continues toward employment at larger practices and health systems.
“I wouldn’t say the game is over for solo physicians, but it’s the bottom of the ninth and you are behind. There is nothing going your way,” says a recruiting executive.
Other findings include:

  • Around 56.8 percent of physicians still practice in a wholly physician-owned setting. In 2012, the number was 60 percent.
  • More than 60 percent of physicians work in practices with 10 physicians or fewer, and that practice size didn’t change much between 2012 and 2014.
  • Just over half of physicians are practice owners, a slight decrease from 53.2 percent in 2012.
  • Slightly more than 17 percent of physicians are in solo practice, a decrease from 18.4 percent in 2012.
  • The share of physicians in practices with at least some hospital ownership increased from 23.4 percent to 25.6 percent in 2014.
  • Orthopedic and spine surgeons are among the most independent-minded specialties. There are around 35 percent of orthopedic surgeons working in the orthopedic group practice setting and an additional 15 percent in private practice, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons