A further analysis found that hospitals acquired 31,000 physician practices from 2012 to 2015 and now own one-in-four practices nationwide. The acquisitions typically include the services of multiple physicians through employment contracts, as well as the practice's physical building and equipment.
Regionally over the three-year span, employment of physicians rose
- 59% in the South
- 58% in the Northeast
- 49% in Alaska and Hawaii
- 44% in the Midwest
- 33% in the West
Over that same time frame, hospitals' ownership of practices rose
- 118% in Alaska and Hawaii
- 106% in the Northeast
- 98% in the South
- 82% in the West
- 72% in the Midwest
"Regardless of where they live, physicians who want to remain in private practice are under tremendous pressure," said Robert Seligson, PAI president and CEO of the North Carolina Medical Society, in remarks accompanying the study.
"Payment policies from governmental agencies and health insurance companies heavily favor large health systems and make it challenging for independent physician practices, especially smaller practices, to survive," Seligson said.