Like members of many other professions, medical doctors periodically take part in surveys that keep track of how they carry out their work. Recent surveys have uncovered an interesting trend: more and more doctors no longer operate a “private practice.” Instead, these doctors have chosen to enter into employment arrangements with hospitals and health systems. By 2018, the percentage of practicing physicians who owned their practices dropped for the first time below that of practicing physicians who were employed (45.9% to 47.4%) (“Employed physicians now exceed those who own their practices,” American Medical Association, May 10, 2019)

The pandemic has only exacerbated this trend. “In 2021, 73.9% of physicians were hospital- or corporate-employed, up from 69.3% at the start of 2021, 64.5% at the start of 2020, and 62.2% at the start of 2019, according to the nonprofit Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) and consulting firm Avalere.” (“Docs Flocked to Join Hospitals and Other Employers in Pandemic Era,” Med Page Today, April 21, 2022) Why is this occurring? Will it affect your health care?

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