More Than Half of Physicians are Self-Employed, Survey Finds

Sep 26, 2013, 9:00 AM

Although more hospitals and health care systems have been hiring physicians in recent years, more than half of the nation’s physicians are still self-employed. A survey from the American Medical Association finds that 53.2 percent of physicians were self-employed in 2012 and 60 percent worked in practices that were wholly owned by physicians.

The survey also found that only 5.6 percent of physicians were directly employed by a hospital. Twenty-three percent worked in practices that were at least partially owned by a hospital.

Although the researchers conclude hospital employment is part of a national trend, the data “offers an update on the status of physician practice arrangements, and allows for a nationally representative response to the numerous articles of the past several years that have highlighted a surge in the employment of physicians by hospitals and the ‘death’ of private practice.”

The data comes from the 2012 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey, a nationally representative random sample of post-residency physicians who provide at least 20 hours of patient care per week.

Read the study.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.