According to the annual AMA Physician Practice Benchmark survey data, private practice by physicians dropped below 50% for the first time ever. With an increasing number of practices partnering together and partnering with Private Equity, fewer doctor practices are going it alone.
Prior to this, many hospitals had acquired physician groups that either provided referrals to specialists or the specialists themselves that drove overnight hospital stays. Groups like cardiovascular, neurosurgery, and other specialties frequently required overnight stays in hospitals which led to a mutually beneficial partnership between the hospitals and the physician groups.
Over the last 10 years, specialists that did not drive much overnight hospital volume have gone down a different path, partnering together and with Private Equity in specialties like dermatology, ophthalmology, podiatry, and oral surgery, among others. These trends have continued to put pressure on private practice ownership as evidenced by this latest report.