For first time, US sees employed physicians outnumber self-employed, AMA study shows

The number of employed physicians exceeds self-employed physicians for the first time in the U.S., according to the latest American Medical Association study on physician practice arrangements.

The study found that 47.4 percent of all patient care physicians in 2018 were employed physicians. That's a 6 percentage point increase compared to 2012.

At the same time, 45.9 percent of all patient care physicians in 2018 were self-employed physicians, down 7 percentage points compared to 53.2 percent in 2012.

The AMA noted that the number of self-employed physicians also declined nearly continuously between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s. Therefore, the findings represent the continuation of a longer-term trend, and "caution should be taken in assuming current trends will continue indefinitely," the association said.

The latest survey showed that more than half of patient care physicians (54 percent) worked in physician-owned practices last year as an owner, employee or contractor. That's down from 60.1 percent in 2012.

Additionally, the survey showed 8 percent of all patient care physicians worked directly for a hospital in 2018, up from 5.6 percent in 2012. The share of patient care physicians who worked in hospital-owned practices also increased, from 23.4 percent in 2012 to 26.7 percent in 2018.

Younger physicians and female physicians were more likely to be employed physicians in 2018 compared to 2012,, according to the survey.

"Transformational change continues in the delivery of healthcare, and physicians are responding by re-evaluating their practice arrangements," AMA President Barbara McAneny, MD, said in a news release. "Physicians must assess many factors and carefully determine for themselves what settings they find professionally rewarding when considering independence or employment."

Read more about the study here.




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