The days of Dr. Marcus Welby are fading faster than the TV show’s re-runs.
And didn’t that comment reveal my age?
Most of today’s physicians do not relate to Dr. Welby.
In fact, the private practice physician numbers are dropping dramatically.
According to a report from Merritt Hawkins, the largest U.S. physician search firm:
- 90 percent of new physician jobs come from hospitals, medical groups, and health centers/facilities
- Less than 10 percent offer physicians a private practice setting
What is behind this health care trend?
Private Practice Physician Plummet
The Merritt Hawkins report revealed some startling statistics on how far the private practice physician numbers fell in the last 10 years.
The big winners (depending on your perspective) are hospitals.
- In 2004, 11 percent of physicians were hospital employees
- In 2014, 64 percent of physicians call hospitals their employer
Both the healthcare market and health reform’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) receive the dubious credit for this trend.
Numerous factors affect a physician’s decision to leave private practice.
- Increasing regulation, particularly from health reform’s ACA
- High cost of education, malpractice insurance, benefits
- Rising technology, staffing, training costs
- Decreasing payer compensation
- Mergers and acquisitions
The private practice physician’s world has been turned upside down. The business side of health care has taken over the lives of those hoping to focus on health care alone.
With a push toward healthcare consumerism, it will be interesting to see what role this trend plays in future health care.
Will the change mean greater efficiency and improved quality of care? Is the definition of family doctor changed forever? And to what end?
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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.
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