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How many physician practices are there by size of the group in the US?

I am pretty pleased with myself that I scratched up these numbers!  They come from a reputable federal government source — the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  However, they are unpublished and I had to twirl my almighty Rollodex to get them.

Number of Physician Practices by Practice Size: US 2009-2010

  • 109,684 solo practitioners
  •   18,854 2-physician practices
  •   21,806 3-to-5-physician practices
  •     8,842 6-to-10-physician practices
  •     2,342 11+ physician practices
  • 161,527 total physician practices

Note: These data have been extrapolated by NCHS to represent the entire U.S.

Source: Unpublished data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.  Provided by Esther Hing at the National Center for Health Statistics, as a result of a telephone conversation and email exchange on Dec. 17, 2014.  Thanks!  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050 rc@aha.org


Physician-owned practices outperformed IDS-owned practices in Midwest study

This study, which I’m going to guess might have been conducted in the Twin Cities–although the location is identified only as a “large upper Midwest community”–surprised the authors.  But, it’s important to note that this study was not based on national data.  The authors examined data from 2008 and 2009 for a total of 273,000 enrollees covered by self-insured health plans.  The point was to compare the performance of medical group practices that were owned by an integrated delivery system (32 practices) versus those that were physician-owned (20 practices).

The findings were that the quality of care was pretty much the same regardless of whether the practices were part of an integrated delivery system or not.  However, the physician-owned practices often outperformed the IDS-owned practices as far as cost savings.  The authors comment that:

  • “This unexpected finding might result from difficulties encountered in creating a uniform culture in the large, complex health care delivery systems and the technology-intense culture of the hospital-based IDS practices.”

Source: Kralewski, J., Dowd, B., and others.  Do integrated health care systems provide lower-cost, high-quality care?  PEJ. Physician Executive.  40(2):14-18, Mar.-Apr. 2014.  Click here for access to this article:  http://www.acpe.org/docs/default-source/survey/do-integrated-health-care-systems-provide-lower-cost-higher-quality-care.pdf?sfvrsn=4  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org