Medical Care | VOL. 60
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US Generalist Physicians and Groups That Focused Practice in a Single Care Setting

Publication Date Sep 6, 2022

Abstract

Some generalist physicians whose training prepared them for primary care practice increasingly practice in a facility (eg, hospitals, nursing homes); however, whether this trend was accompanied by a complimentary rise in generalist physicians who focused their practice on office-based care is unknown. Our objective in this study was to examine trends in the prevalence of generalist physicians and physician groups that practice in a single setting. This was a retrospective cross-sectional study of generalist physicians trained in family medicine, internal medicine, or geriatrics. We used 2014-2017 billing data for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries to measure the proportion of all patient visits made by physicians in the following care settings: office, outpatient hospital department, inpatient hospital, and other sites. From 2014 to 2017, the proportion of generalist physicians who narrowed their practice to a single setting increased by 6.69% (from 62.80% to 67.00%, p for trend <0.001). In 2017, 4.63% of physician groups included more than 1 type of setting-based physicians. Generalist physicians treating older adults increasingly narrowed their practice focus to a single type of health care setting. This trend was not accompanied by growth among physician groups that included different types of setting-based physicians. Further evaluation of the consequences of these trends on the fragmentation of primary care delivery across different health care settings and primary care outcomes is needed.

Concepts

Type Of Health Care Setting Single Setting Generalist Physicians Physician Groups Outpatient Hospital Department Office-based Care Primary Care Health Care Setting Family Medicine Inpatient Hospital

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