Home Growing Your Practice A look at hospitalist group size

A look at hospitalist group size

November 2012

Published in the November 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

DOES SIZE COUNT? According to the 2011 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, some hospitalist practices have only one or two doctors. But most hospitalists, of course, work in larger groups. Here’s a breakdown of trends in group size across different regions and employer models.

Group trends
The mean number of full-time doctors in hospitalist groups for all survey comers is 12.6. But groups that treat only adults tend to be significantly larger than pediatric programs. The mean number of full-time physicians in adult-only practices is 13.1 vs. 9.26 in pediatric groups. One-quarter of adult-only groups have more than 15 full-time doctors (25.7%), a percentage that falls to 11.5% among pediatric hospitalist programs.

The latest in hospitalist compensation, work shifts, group size and more in our Compensation and Career Survey results.

And while the mean group size across most regions of the country hovers between 12 and 14 full-time physicians, that’s not the case in the Southwest. Hospitalists there report a mean of 10.5 full-time doctors. Hospitalists in the Midwest, however, report the highest regional mean number of full-time physicians in a group: 14.1.

Group size by employer
Not surprisingly, academic groups tend to be much larger, and more than 40% (41.6%) of them report having more than 15 full-time physicians. On the other end of the spectrum, groups that are part of national hospitalist management companies are the smallest. The mean number of full-time hospitalists in those groups is 8.4 compared to 18.1 within academic groups.

As for other employment models “those employed by hospitals, local private groups or multispecialty/primary care groups “the mean number of full-time physicians comes in between 12 and 14.

Night coverage
One of the benefits of working for larger groups is night coverage. Among groups that have more than 15 full-time physicians, more than three-quarters (77.4%) are able to cover nights either through nocturnists exclusively or the use of nocturnists plus some hospitalist rotation. Among groups that have only between three and nine full-time physicians, however, one-quarter still rely on physicians taking beeper call.