Physicians leaving practices for health system employment

By 2013, less than a third of physicians will be in private practice, electing instead for employment with larger health systems, according to a new report released today by management consulting company Accenture Health. The rate of independent physicians employed by health systems will grow by an annual rate of 5 percent over three years, according to the report.

Burdened by administrative responsibilities of their private practices, physicians are increasingly attracted to the resources that health systems offer, as well as manageable work weeks and job stability, notes the report.

The employment trend is spreading nationwide. For example, Texas last month lifted a statewide ban that now permits rural hospitals to employ physicians. For supporters of the legislation, SB 894 will attract physicians to underserved communities.

"We see an increasing number of physicians leaving private practice to join hospital systems, which will force all stakeholders to revise and refine their business models, product offerings and service strategies," said Accenture Health Senior Executive Kristin Ficery.

The trend of physician employment will require that hospitals adjust their recruitment and retention methods, especially in growing service lines, such as cardiovascular care, orthopedics, cancer care, and radiology, according to the consulting firm. In addition, Accenture anticipates that patients will increasingly shift their care from private practices to large health system settings.

To learn more:
- read the Accenture report
- check out the Accenture press release
- read SB 894 bill (.pdf)