Report Shows Drastic Increase In Physicians Leaving Private Practice

Sarasota, FL ( – A recent physician employment report prepared by healthcare consulting firm Avalere for the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) shows that the trend of providers leaving independent practice isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Avalere analyzed healthcare employment data from January 1, 2019 through January 1 of this year. The analysts reviewed trends related to corporate acquisitions of private practices, as well as physicians leaving private practice for corporate employment.

During the two year time period, 48,400 physicians left independent practice to become employed in a corporate environment of health systems, insurers, or private equity groups, resulting in a 12 increase in corporate employed physicians. A total of 22,700 physicians changed their jobs after the start of the pandemic.

When reviewed by type of corporate entity, 18,600 of the 48,400 physicians that changed employers went to work for a hospital employer, resulting in a 5 percent increase in physicians employed by hospitals. A total of 11,400 physicians left after the pandemic started.

In January of 2019, 62.2 percent of physicians were hospital or corporate employed. By January of 2021, that percentage increased to 69.3 percent. When broken out by entity type, in January 2019 46.9 percent of physicians were employed by hospitals, and by January of this year that percentage increased to 49.3 percent. For other corporate entities, in 2019 15.3 percent of physicians were employed by other corporate entities, and that percentage increased to 20 percent in 2021 resulting in an overall increase of 31 percent.

On the practice front, in the two-year review period, a total of 20,900 independent practices were bought out by corporate entities, resulting in a 25 percent increase in corporate owned offices. Of those, hospitals bought out a total of 3,200 physician practices, resulting in an 8 percent increase.

The southern region saw the biggest increase in corporate driven employment and buyouts. Corporate owned practices increased by 28.7 percent, and corporate employed physicians increased by 15.4 percent. The Midwest region saw the least increase, at a 19.9 percent increase for offices, and 8.8 percent for physician employment. However, the Midwest region also had the highest percentage of corporate employed physicians at 77 percent, and 60 percent of all physicians in that region are employed by hospitals. Additionally, the Midwest had the highest percentage of hospital owned practices at 37.5 percent.

You can download the full report on the PAI website.

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