Health systems acquire 5k independent practices during 2015-16

Health systems are on an independent practice shopping spree. Between July 2015 and July 2016 the Physicians Advocacy Institute reports 5,000 independent practices were acquired by health systems.

Here's what you should know.

1. Over the same time period, the number of hospital-employed physicians grew by 14,000, representing a nearly 11 percent growth in employed physicians.

2. In July 2012, only 25 percent of all physicians were employed by hospitals. In July 2016, that number rocketed to 42 percent.

3. Avalere Health conducted the analysis, finding physicians are leaving private practice behind to become employed by hospitals and health systems.

4. The spike in hospital-employed physicians caused Medicare costs for healthcare services to rise $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2015.

5. Insured patients are footing the cost, with beneficiaries paying $411 million more for services that are now being performed in a hospital setting.

PAI President Robert Seligson said, "As payers and hospitals continue [to] drive consolidation across the healthcare system, it is becoming more and more difficult for a physician to maintain an independent practice. Payment policies mandated by insurers and [the] government heavily favor large health systems, creating a competitive advantage that stacks the deck against independent physicians, who are already struggling to survive under expensive, time-consuming administrative and regulatory burdens.”

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