Study: Employed physicians see 19% fewer patients than practice owners

The movement among physicians to seek employment is driven by the thought it will be a shelter from the onslaught of coming regulations, reimbursement changes and administrative burdens — protecting valuable time spent with patients.

But just 44 percent of more than 17,000 physicians said they don't believe hospital employment is a positive trend, according to a survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins and commissioned by the Physicians Foundation. Despite these beliefs, physicians are still jumping into employment. Almost 35 percent said they were employed by a hospital, up from 30.4 percent in 2014. And hospital and medical group-employed physicians combined accounted for nearly 58 percent of respondents.

Meanwhile, independent practice ownership is declining. Roughly a third of respondents identify as independent practice owners, down from 48.5 percent in 2012.

The reason physicians may not be enthusiastic about employment is it seemingly has not improved patient access, the survey indicates. In fact, survey results show employed physicians see 19 percent fewer patients than practice owners. This likely contributes in part to elevated levels of burnout, as 73.8 percent of respondents said patient relationships are their primary source of professional satisfaction.


More articles on integration and physician issues:

47% of physicians plan to hasten retirement
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Employed physicians don't provide higher quality care

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