Employed physicians outnumber self-employed physicians for 1st time in U.S.

Self-employed physician numbers continue to decrease as a new American Medical Association study shows employed physicians outnumber self-employed physicians for the first time in U.S. history.

In 2018, hospitals employed 47.4 percent of physicians, while 45.9 percent were self-employed. Employed physician rates have increased 6 percent and self-employed physician rates have dropped 7 percent since 2012.

Self-employed physician rates have been dropping since the late 1980s. The AMA suggested "caution should be taken in assuming current trends will continue indefinitely."

Fifty-four percent of patient care physicians worked in physician-owned practices in 2018. Although lower than 60.1 percent in 2012, the decreases could be slowing, as the primary change occurred between 2012 and 2014.

Eight percent of all patient care physicians worked for a hospital in 2018, 26.7 percent worked at hospital-owned practices, meaning 34.7 percent of physicians worked either for a hospital or for a practice partially owned by a hospital.

Younger physicians seek out employment arrangements more than older physicians. About 70 percent of physicians under 40 were employed, while only 38.2 percent of physicians over 55 were employed. AMA also found that despite regulatory challenges, most physicians continue to work in small practices.

To view the entire study, click here.

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