Good news for private practice physicians

Here are three positive developments for private practice physicians:

Higher pay compared to employed physicians 

Though physicians have seen pay cuts over the years, private practice physicians still earn big.  

According to Medscape's "Physician Compensation Report 2024," self-employed physicians earn about $391,000 annually compared to employed physicians, who earn $353,000. Single-specialty, solo practice and multispecialty groups are the highest-earning physician employment settings, according to Doximity's 2023 Physician Compensation Report

Additionally, private practice physicians can earn big in ancillary revenue. 

"Ancillary service revenue can reflect up to 50% to 60% of a private practicing physician's income, which, unfortunately, short of gain-sharing opportunities or partial ASC ownership, is usually unavailable in large healthcare system-employed practice situations," Jack Bert, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Woodbury (Minn.) Bone & Joint, told Becker's.

Practice autonomy 

Private practice physicians have more autonomy in the way they practice compared to their employed counterparts, getting to control the day-to-day functions of their practices.

"It is a lot more about compliance in the corporate world. In a private practice, you're focused on being nimble and making decisions every day," Michael Gross, MD, an orthopedic surgeon based in Hackensack, N.J., told Becker's. "You can look at things and say, 'We can do this better, why don't we do it this way.' You're constantly striving to be better and to be more excellent. The corporate world looks at it like, 'We're doing this pretty good, Let's not mess with it. It's good enough.' And people are more worried about even voicing an opinion in the corporate world. Everybody's always looking over their shoulder."

Contract autonomy 

Private practice physicians are also afforded contract autonomy with payers and don't have to worry about employment stipulations such as noncompetes. . 
"Private practice physicians have more power in healthcare than their employed counterparts," Vladimir Sinkov, MD, a surgeon at Las Vegas-based Sinkov Spine, told Becker's. "Private practice physicians at least have some control over what insurance contracts they sign, where they practice, which hospitals they chose to go to operate or admit patients and what schedule they have. Employed physicians frequently relinquish those decisions to their administrators."

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