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When the doctor has a boss

The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2010

The traditional model of doctors hanging up their own shingles is fading fast, as more go to work directly for hospitals that are building themselves into consolidated health-care providers.

The latest sign of the continued shift comes from a large Medical Group Management Association survey, which found that the share of responding practices that were hospital-owned last year hit 55%, up from 50% in 2008 and around 30% five years earlier.

The biggest U.S. physician-recruiting firm, Merritt Hawkins, a unit of AMN Healthcare Inc., said the share of its doctor searches that were for positions with hospitals hit 51% for the 12 months ended in March, up from 45% a year earlier and 19% five years ago. The number of searches for physician groups and partnerships has dropped.

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