“The Days Of New Doctors Hanging Out A Shingle In An Independent Solo Practice Is Over”

Despite some physicians resisting hospital employment, more of them are favoring the model, according to a new Merritt Hawkins & Associates survey released yesterday.

Thirty-two percent of first-year residents surveyed in 2011 said they prefer to be employed by a hospital, up from 22 percent in 2008. Only one percent said they prefer to work in a solo practice as their first position.

In addition, 28 percent said they prefer to be in a partnership relationship in 2011, up from 24 percent in 2008.

“The days of new doctors hanging out a shingle in an independent solo practice are over,” said Merritt Hawkins founder James Merritt in a press release. “Most new doctors prefer to be employed and let a hospital or medical group handle the business end of medical practice.”

In addition to declining reimbursement, high practice costs, and administrative responsibilities, part of the reason may be that the physicians (48 percent) surveyed said that they feel increasingly unprepared to handle the business side of medicine. Only 9 percent said they felt prepared, according to the report.

Of those residents surveyed who didn’t prefer hospital employment as their first choice, 20 percent said they either prefer a single-specialty group or multispecialty group. Very few physicians said they wanted to work at an HMO or academic center, according to the report.