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9 in 10 New Physician Jobs Follow Employment Model

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 30, 2014

The growing importance of population health management and value-based care as well as market share and leverage with payers is spurring much of the trend toward physician hiring.

The shift toward the employed physician model has grown from a stream to a deluge, accounting for more than 90% of new physician job openings at hospitals, medical group, health centers and other healthcare facilities, Merritt Hawkins reports.

The findings were made public Monday in the Irving, TX-based physician recruiters' annual report, which tracked 3,158 physician and advanced practitioner recruiting searches the firm conducted from April, 2013 through March 2014.

Of these assignments, more than nine in 10 featured practices in which newly recruited physicians would be employed. Less than 10% of the recruiting assignments featured independent practice settings, such as partnerships, concierge practices or solo practice settings, down from over 45% in 2004.

Travis Singleton, senior vice president at Merritt Hawkins, says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with its emphasis on population health and value-based care, and the growing importance of market share and leverage with payers is spurring much of the trend toward physician hiring.

"Everyone has glommed on to the employment model; physicians because they are trying to mitigate risk and they are looking for financial help and they have all the issues of medicine and small business concerns," Singleton says.

"On the other side, whether you are a hospital, urgent care, concierge or some mix thereof, it enables you better to influence the behavior of your clinicians. And increasingly, in all of these delivery systems, that clinician is not just a physician. It's a team health environment… and the only clear mechanism that allows you to push all those different cultures and providers and modalities in one direction is employment."

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