Self employed vs. employed gastroenterologists: 10 notes 

Here are 10 key notes on private practice and employment for gastroenterologists and the physician workforce as a whole:

1. As of October, around 10% of gastroenterology physicians are a part of a private equity-backed platform, according to Healthcare Appraisers' 2023 GI "Industry Outlook" report, published in September. 

2. According to data from consulting firm Avalere in a study sponsored by the Physicians Advocacy Institute, more than 127,000 physicians moved to employment from 2019 to 2023. Around 78% of physicians were hospital- or corporate-employed by January 2024. 

3. Gastroenterologists have maintained a strong presence as private practice providers, despite nationwide trends. Data from career site Zippa found that 88% of gastroenterologists work in private practice, the second highest specialty. 

4. The number of employed physicians has jumped 5.1% since 2022, according to the Avalere report. Hospitals and other corporate entities acquired 8,100 additional physician practices over the last two years.

5. Self-employed gastroenterologists earn more than employed. Median compensation for gastroenterologists working at hospital-owned groups or MSOs increased 4%, compared to a 15% increase for those at physician-owned groups, according to the Healthcare Appraiser report.

6. According to the same report, hospital-owned group compensation declined from 2018 to 2023 at both the 75th and 90th percentile. 

7. "Physicians remaining independent are going to be few and far between. They're either going to go with these large equity groups or hospitals or something like that," Sheldon Taub, MD, a gastroenterologist at Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center, told Becker's. "You still have a quote, unquote, 'private practice,' but you have guidelines and rules that you have to conform to so it meets their criteria. So right away, you feel a little bit of your autonomy being compromised, and then the bigger the group gets, the more restrictions they have on what you can do to stay in the group and conform to what they want you to do. On top of that, the government throws in their regulations too. The private practitioner is a dying breed."

8. Here is how employed and self-employed physician pay stacked up in the last five years, according to Medscape annual compensation reports. 

Employed physicians:

2023: $353,000

2022: $344,00

2021: $320,000

2020: $300,000

2019: $297,000

Self-employed physicians:

2023: $391,000

2022: $374,000

2021: $385,000

2020: $352,000

2019: $357,000

9. Single-specialty, solo practice and multispecialty groups are the highest-earning physician employment settings, according to Doximity's 2023 Physician Compensation Report

10. Physicians can earn big in ancillary revenue as a private practice physician. 

"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.

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