Physician practice ownership — 22 things to know about specialists in the US

Here is a snapshot of the key trends in physician ownership across the U.S.


In a survey of 1,527 physicians, Jackson Healthcare examined ownership situations and preferences among primary care physicians and specialists. The survey was conducted in 2014 and results released in 2018. 

Here are the key points to know:

1. Solo practice ownership: 21 percent
2. Ownership stake in single-specialty practice: 17 percent
3. Employed by privately owned practice: 14 percent
4. Ownership in multispecialty practice: 4 percent
5. Hospital employee: 21 percent

Many of the specialists most likely to own a solo practice are also among the key specialties for ASCs:

7. Ophthalmologists: 43 percent
8. Musculoskeletal: 27 percent
9. Surgery subspecialists: 22 percent

Around 22 percent of primary care physicians reported solo practice ownership. Overall, the number of employed primary care physicians increased over the past few years and fewer have a stake in single-specialty practices; the report found 37 percent of those who chose hospital employment said they didn't want to deal with the administrative responsibilities of practice ownership.

Each year Medscape releases a report on physician compensation which includes details about specialty employment and compensation. Here are the results for key ASC specialties from the 2018 report:

10. Orthopedics: 44 percent are self-employed, 53 percent are employed
11. Self-employed average compensation for orthopedics: $536,000
12. Employed average compensation for orthopedics: $469,000
13. Gastroenterology: 44 percent are self-employed, 53 percent are employed
14. Self-employed gastroenterologist average compensation: $424,000
15. Employed gastroenterologist compensation: $400,000
16. Ophthalmologists: 58 percent are self-employed, 40 percent are employed
17. Self-employed average compensation for ophthalmologists: $429,000
18. Employed average compensation for ophthalmologists: $256,000

The American Medical Association updated its data about physician practice ownership, examining trends among physician demographics about ownership stake in their practice. The survey, conducted in 2016, found:

19. Fewer than half, 47.1 percent, of patient care physicians had ownership stake in their practices, a decrease from the previous survey in 2014.

20. Younger physicians were less likely to have ownership stake in their practice; ownership among physicians aged 40 to 54.9 years old was 27.9 percent. Among physicians under 40 years old, 14 percent were direct hospital employees.

21. Most practices are single specialty — 42.8 percent — while 24.6 percent of practices are multispecialty.

22. The typical practice size is getting bigger; around 13.8 percent of physicians were in practices with 50 or more physicians, up from 12.2 percent in the last survey; 37.9 percent were in groups with fewer than five physicians, down from 40.9 percent in the last survey.

More articles on physicians:
23 new orthopedic ASCs
23 GI physicians who joined practices in this year
14 physicians or ASCs receiving honors in 2018

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