Healthcare Insights

Top 25 California physician groups by Medicare charges

From industry bargaining power to operational support, physician groups provide a number of benefits to the doctors working under their banners. These benefits make it easier for doctors to support their patients and the communities in which they’re located.

There are more than 126,000 physician groups in the U.S., of which 11,490 are located in California.

Let’s take a look at the physician groups claiming the highest Medicare charges in the country’s most populous state.

Top physician groups in California by 2021 Medicare charges

RankPhysician group nameDefinitive IDMain specialtyMedicare chargesExplore dataset
1Hill Physicians Medical Group550737Internal Medicine$1,871,484,862 Explore
2UCLA Health System Physicians (FKA UCLA Medical Group)609686Internal Medicine$1,407,240,850 Explore
3Vituity (FKA CEP America California)695572Emergency Medicine$1,261,476,477 Explore
4Brown & Toland Physicians550719Pediatric Medicine$1,090,315,904 Explore
5GenesisCare (FKA 21st Century Oncology)956277Radiology - Radiation Oncology$942,829,416 Explore
6Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation550882Family Practice$825,728,385 Explore
7Sharp Community Medical Group755728Internal Medicine$797,150,892 Explore
8John Muir Health Physician Network550477Family Practice$790,797,851 Explore
9El Camino Health Physicians995192Internal Medicine$735,959,554 Explore
10Sante Community Physicians551906Family Practice$642,404,810 Explore
11University of California San Francisco Health Physicians (AKA UCSF Health Physicians)994530Internal Medicine$559,332,756 Explore
12Seoul Medical Group551964Ophthalmology$535,971,862 Explore
13Scripps Clinic750211Internal Medicine$529,746,487 Explore
14Stanford Hospitals and Clinics706374Internal Medicine$506,367,169 Explore
15Sutter Medical Foundation550623Family Practice$502,769,351 Explore
16City of Hope653808Oncology - Hematology/Oncology$486,227,840 Explore
17Cedars-Sinai Physicians (FKA Cedars-Sinai Medical Group)552127Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist$475,676,212 Explore
18Providence Medical Foundation550605Family Practice$428,387,625 Explore
19The Permanente Medical Group550751Internal Medicine$420,837,171 Explore
20Cottage Health Physicians1022805Internal Medicine$412,259,987 Explore
21MemorialCare Medical Group550447Family Practice$402,360,232 Explore
22Scripps Physicians Medical Group552033Internal Medicine$397,887,819 Explore
23United Physicians International551971Nephrology$388,508,185 Explore
24UC San Diego Health Physicians (FKA UC San Diego Health Physician Network)550905Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist$384,438,590 Explore
25Regal Medical Group Inc552260Internal Medicine$360,867,097 Explore

Fig 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare PhysicianGroupView product. Data is sourced from Definitive Healthcare’s proprietary research and CMS Physicians Compare. Data accurate as of October 2022.

Which physician groups had the most Medicare charges?

Hill Physicians Medical Group in Walnut Creek, California, had $1.87 billion in Medicare charges in 2021, putting it at the top of our list. With a focus on internal medicine, this physician group is also one of the state’s largest independent physician associations (IPAs).

In the second-place position, UCLA Health System Physicians in Los Angeles—another group of internal medicine specialists—had $1.40 billion in Medicare charges.

Taking third place is Vituity (formerly known as CEP America California), a physician group based in Emeryville, with $1.26 billion in total Medicare charges. Vituity is the only group on our list with a focus on emergency medicine.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of group medical practice?

Physician groups come in all shapes and sizes and can deliver some key advantages to their provider members. But they’re not necessarily right for every clinician.

As far as benefits go, physician groups offer strength in numbers in a variety of ways:

  • They give their members stronger footing in negotiations with payors, vendors, and other entities.
  • By bringing together practitioners from multiple specialties and experience levels, physician groups support knowledge-sharing and continued learning.
  • Having members across multiple specialties may also be more attractive to patients, who can access all their care at one location.
  • Sharing costs reduces the financial liability of any given individual clinician and improves access to more expensive equipment and supplies.

Of course, the collaborative nature of physician groups also comes with its drawbacks:

  • If provider interests aren’t aligned, conflicts can arise among members—especially those rising stars looking to make a name for themselves.
  • Patients may see a different doctor at every visit, which can limit rapport between both parties.
  • Younger, newer physicians usually have less sway over compensation and operations than their more experienced peers, meaning they may have to spend more time at work for less pay, depending on the group’s standards.

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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.

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