Physician employment up nearly 50% in 3 years: 5 things to know

Physicians Advocacy Institute published the “Physician Practice Acquisition Study: National and Regional Employment Changes” showing a steep increase in the number of hospital-employed physicians and hospital-owned practices.

Here are five key notes from the report:

1. The percentage of hospital-employed physicians increased almost 50 percent from July 2012 to July 2015. There were increases for ever six-month period over those three years.

2. Regionally, hospital employment increased by 75 percent to 114 percent. The regional percentage of hospital-employed physicians in July 2015 is:

• Northeast: 42 percent
• South: 33 percent
• Midwest: 49 percent
• West: 34 percent
• Alaska & Hawaii: 27 percent

3. In 2015, there were 67,000 physician practices nationwide that were hospital-owned, up 86 percent from 2012. There were 13,000 physician practices acquired from July 2014 to January 2015.

4. The number of employed physicians grew by 46,000 nationwide from 2012 to 2015.

5. Medicare pays more when services are in a hospital-owned setting, including hospital outpatient departments. Spending per episode of care on cardiac imaging is $2,862 in a physician office compared with $5,148 in the outpatient department; colonoscopies are $1,322 in the physician office and $1,784 in the outpatient department.

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