More physicians choose to work in group practice settings: study

January 1, 1997
Pharmaceutical Representative

An increasing number of physicians in the United States are choosing to practice in medical group settings, according to a study published by the AMA.

An increasing number of physicians in the United States are choosing to practice in medical group settings, according to a study published by the American Medical Association, Chicago.

The study revealed that in an environment heavily influenced by managed care, more than one-third of U.S. physicians are now members of group practices. In 1995, those practices numbered 19,787, an increase of 361% in the number of group practices since 1965. From 1991 to 1995, the number of groups increased by 16% and the number of group physicians by 14%.

Although most medical groups tend to be small - almost half of all medical groups have just three or four physicians - nearly one-third of all group physicians can be found in groups of 100 physicians or more.

Multispecialty groups continue to be the largest. And 95% of medical groups are physician owned, while 22% are hospital owned.

"We see a vast change taking place in the way medicine is being practiced in this country, with medical groups as important providers," said AMA Executive Vice President P. John Seward, M.D. "This study shows the impact that managed care has had on physicians, and how physicians in turn have sought compatible practice arrangements that ensure the quality of medicine in a cost-conscious environment."

The study also showed that medical groups have changed how they organize legally, with partnerships declining in 1995, and professional corporations nearly doubling.

In these medical groups, decision-making remains largely in physician hands. In most cases, formulary selection is made by physicians or a committee of physicians.

The study showed California to have the largest number of medical groups (1,858), while North Dakota has the fewest (34). PR