Hospital-owned practices were the most successful in attracting physicians in 2009, according to a recent survey by the Medical Group Management Association. More than half (65 percent) of established physicians were placed in hospital-owned practices and almost half (49 percent) of physicians hired out of residency or fellowship were placed within hospital-owned practices.

Higher starting compensation could be one of the drivers for this trend as primary care and specialty care physicians in hospital-owned practices were offered more in first-year guaranteed compensation than in practices not owned by hospitals. Historically, those practices have offered higher first-year guaranteed compensation to specialty physicians. However, the gap between first-year compensation offered for specialty care physicians and the compensation offered for primary care physicians has been shrinking since 2007. Primary care physicians reported median first-year guaranteed compensation of $160,000 in 2009 while specialists reported $230,000.

Experts suggested that uncertainty about reimbursement in the future was another reason physicians were opting for hospital-owned practices.

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