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.

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.