Thursday, January 3, 2013

Surgeons as Employees

AMA Physician Masterfile data was examined to determine the shifting paradigm in surgical practices.  The results are unsurprising:
Results The number of surgeons who reported having their own self-employed practice decreased from 48% to 33% between 2001 and 2009, and this decrease corresponded with an increase in the number of employed surgeons. Sixty-eight percent of surgeons in the United States now self-identify their practice environment as employed. Between 2006 and 2011, there was a 32% increase in the number of surgeon in a full-time hospital employment arrangement. Younger surgeons and female surgeons increasingly favor employment in large group practices. Employment trends were similar for both urban and rural practices.
Interesting that younger surgeons are gravitating toward an employed model.  I suspect that onerous educational debt loads contributes to the decision to opt for a "safer" earnings environment.  When you are forking out $1500 a month to Wells Fargo, it's nice to know you have bi-monthly checks coming in regularly.

Also, don't forget that the majority of graduating general surgery residents are pursuing fellowship training in various subspecialties.  A general surgeon can hang his shingle pretty much anywhere in the USA.  A trauma surgeon?  Cardiothoracic?  Vascular?  Hand specialist?  You pretty much need to link up with the giant tertiary care centers (as an employee) to guarantee a steady, sufficient referral base. 


Unknown said...

Political correctness and 80 hour work weeks are destroying the practice of general surgery. There is no understanding progression of disease and all problems must be diagnosed radiographically.

My partner and I need a third -- did 2100 cases last year. We have found no young surgeons willing to work hard to build a private practice anymore.

Jeffrey Parks MD FACS said...

Dr Foley- Are you in an urban or rural setting? And does that case load include office procedures and endoscopy?