The independent physician practice, though declining, is still a significant medical practice model in the United States, as one physician out of three identifies him or herself as an independent practice owner, partner, or associate. In 2016, 38% of physicians in the United States were still working in practices comprising five or fewer physicians. Recent trends show physicians, particularly primary care doctors, moving from smaller to larger group practices, with a simultaneous shift from private practice to employed settings. Medical practice is also evolving with continued technological advances resulting in less face-to-face visit-related work and more time spent completing required documentation.

As of January 1, 2017, half of the 480 organizations participating in the government’s Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) — which offers upside potential and downside protection for the 438 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) refers to as Track 1 — reported to CMS that they are composed solely of networks of individual physician or small group practices. ….more