More physicians turn to corporate employment, staff shortages growing: 4 trends for ASCs to follow

Almost three out of four physicians are employed by hospitals, health systems or other corporate entities such as insurers and private equity firms, while staff shortages that have recently plagued the healthcare system are expected to worsen in the coming years.

Four trends ASCs should monitor:

1. More than 108,700 physicians turned away from self-employment from 2019 to 2021, with 58,200 physicians joining hospitals and 50,500 moving to other corporate entities, according to an April report from business consulting firm Avalere. Of the 108,700 physicians, 83,000 (76 percent) became employees since the pandemic.

2. As of January, hospitals and corporate entities, including private equity firms and insurers, owned 53.6 percent of physician practices — hospitals own 26.4 percent and other corporate entities own 27.2 percent, according to Avalere.

3. By 2030, the overall physician shortage in the U.S. is projected to reach 121,300, according to a January report from financial planning company Physicians Thrive. Cardiology, ophthalmology and orthopedic surgery are expected to see the most significant physician deficits.

4. By 2025, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. anticipates a gap of between 200,000 to 450,000 nurses available for direct patient care. To meet this demand, analysts said the U.S. would need to more than double the number of new graduates entering and staying in the nursing workforce every year for the next three years.

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