September 30, 2022 – With all the challenges healthcare has faced in the last couple of years, it’s no surprise that the industry as whole is constantly shifting and changing. The latest trend signifies a greater shift towards consolidation in the healthcare marketplace, which completely changes the practice landscape for physicians.
A recent study by Avalere Health and the Physicians Advocacy Institute shows that, as of January 2022, 74% of physicians in the United States are employed by hospitals or corporate entities, growing from 62% in January 2019.
In the study, Avalere looked at two consolidation trends occurring on the national and regional levels of healthcare:
- Acquisitions of physician practices by hospitals/health systems and corporate entities like insurers and private equity firms
- Physicians leaving independent medical practices for employment with hospitals/health systems and corporate entities.
Researchers cited the pandemic as a contributing factor to this shift, finding that 108,700 additional physicians became employees of hospitals or corporations since January 2019, with 83,000 of them making the change after the onset of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 drove physicians to leave private practice for employment at an even more rapid pace than we’ve seen in recent years, and these trends continued to accelerate in 2021,” Physicians Advocacy Institute CEO Kelly Kenney said in a news release. “This study underscores the fact that physicians across the nation are facing severe burnout and strain. The pressures of the pandemic forced many independent physicians to make difficult decisions to sell their practices to hospitals, health insurers or other corporate entities.”