Study: Share of physicians with ownership stake in practice no longer majority

Fewer than half of practicing physicians had an ownership stake in their medical practice in 2016, according to an updated study on physician practice arrangements by the American Medical Association.

Last year marks the first time physician practice owners did not account for a majority of patient care physicians since the AMA began documenting practice arrangement trends in 2012.

The proportion of practicing physicians with ownership stakes in a medical practice declined 6 percentage points to 47.1 percent in 2016 from 53.2 percent in 2012, according to the study. Meanwhile, the share of patient care physicians who were employees in their practice increased about 5 percentage points to 47.1 percent in 2016 from 41.8 percent in 2012. About 6 percent of patient care physicians were independent contractors in 2016, compared to 5 percent in 2012.

The study found younger physicians tend to seek employed positions. Nearly two-thirds (65.1 percent) of physicians under 40 were employees of their practice in 2016, compared to 51.3 percent in 2012. The share of employed physicians over age 40 also increased between 2012 and 2016, but at a slower rate.

Physicians' status as practice owners, employees or independent contractors also varied across specialties in 2016. The highest share of owners (59.3 percent) was in the surgical sub-specialties, followed by radiology (56.3 percent). Emergency medicine accounted for the lowest share of owners (27.9 percent) and the highest share of independent contractors (24.8 percent). Pediatrics had the highest share of employed physicians (58.3 percent).

See more findings from the study here.

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