Private practice physicians drop to 26%

Hospitals and corporate entities continued their buying spree of physician practices last year, which experienced a steep increase after the pandemic set in, according to an April 2022 report from Avalere.

In January of 2019, 62.2 percent of physicians were employed by hospitals or corporate entities, a number that increased slightly to 64.5 percent a year later. After the pandemic began, employed physicians rocketed to 69.3 percent by January 2021. By the beginning of this year, nearly 74 percent of physicians reported being employees, leaving 26 percent still in private practice.

There are now around 135,300 hospital or corporate-owned physician practices in the U.S., with 36,200 being acquired in the last two years. Hospitals acquired 4,800 practices from 2019-21, while corporate entities bought 31,300 of practices.

Physicians now own slightly less of all practices, at around 46 percent. Hospitals own about 26 percent of practices, and corporate entities own 27 percent.

Physician ownership of their practices has declined particularly in the South, where 44 percent of practices are no longer physician-owned, and West, where hospitals and corporate entities own 41 percent of practices.

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