CHICAGO - Despite challenges posed by a changing health care landscape, a new updated study on physician practice arrangements by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that most physicians provide care to patients in small practices.
“These data show that the majority (60.7 percent) 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 health care delivery,” said AMA President-elect Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. “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 percent) worked in practices that were wholly owned by physicians in 2014, this majority decreased slightly from 60.1 percent 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 percent in 2012 to 32.8 percent in 2014.
Other important changes in physician practice arrangements that occurred between 2012 and 2014 include:
- The share of physicians who were practice owners decreased from 53.2 percent to 50.8 percent.
- The share of physicians who were in solo practice decreased 18.4 percent to 17.1 percent.
- The share of physicians who were directly employed by a hospital increased from 5.6 percent to 7.2 percent
- The share of physicians who were in practices that had at least some hospital ownership increased from 23.4 percent to 25.6 percent.
The study also looks at longer term changes in practice arrangements, including a focus on the ownership patterns of men and women physicians. To view the study, go online to the medical practice topic of the AMA's Policy Research Perspective series.
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Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial