A Snapshot of U.S. Physicians

Key Findings from the 2008 Health Tracking Physician Survey

This data bulletin presents findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) 2008 Health Tracking Physician Survey, which covers a wide variety of physician and practice information, from basic physician demographic information, practice organization statistics and assessments of career satisfaction to insurance acceptance, compensation arrangements, and charity care provided. The 2008 survey includes responses from more than 4,700 U.S. physicians who provide at least 20 hours per week of direct patient care.

Almost 75 percent of physicians were accepting all or most new Medicare patients, the vast majority of physicians contracted with managed care plans, and slightly fewer than six in 10 physicians provided charity care in 2008, according to the findings.

Other findings:

  • Nearly one-third of physicians worked in solo or two-physician practices, 15 percent worked in groups of three to five physicians, and 19 percent worked in practices of six to 50 physicians.
  • On average, almost half of physicians’ practice revenue was derived from public sources—about 31 percent from Medicare and 17 percent from Medicaid.
  • Despite anecdotal reports that many phy­sicians have dropped out of insurance networks, the vast majority of physicians (87.6%) had managed care contracts in 2008.
  • Nearly six in 10 physicians provided charity care in 2008.
  • Forty-three percent of physicians stated that they were “somewhat satisfied” with their overall medical career, and 39 percent were “very satisfied.”