Physician practice consolidation continues to soar, but will this improve outcomes? 6 things to know

Written by Mary Rechtoris | September 08, 2016 | Print  |

A Health Affairs study found consolidation of physician practices continues to increase, according to Medscape.

In the study, researchers evaluated CMS data on the rate of physician consolidation from smaller to larger group practices between June 2013 and December 2015.


Here are six things to know:


1. The rate of physicians in groups of nine or fewer decreased from 40.1 percent in 2013 to 35.3 percent in 2015.


2. Comparatively, the number of physicians in groups of 100 or more jumped from 29.6 percent in 2013 to 35.1 percent in 2015.


3. Among 154,726 practices, the mean group size was 3.8 in 2013, The physicians at the median were in practices comprised of eight physicians.


4. Researchers found the mean group size among 152,328 practices at the end of 2015 was four and the median physician's group size was 10.


5. Factors driving consolidation include large practices offering more administrative support as well as younger physicians preferring to work in larger practices, among others.


6. Researchers noted studies have not illustrated that large practices yield enhanced outcomes and lower costs. Therefore, researchers concluded, "Continued research is needed to determine the actual effects of physician consolidation on patients, physicians, payers and the healthcare system as a whole."


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