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

Rank Physician Group Name Definitive ID Main Specialty Medicare Charges
1 Hill Physicians Medical Group 550737 Internal Medicine $1,871,484,862
2 UCLA Health System Physicians (FKA UCLA Medical Group) 609686 Internal Medicine $1,407,240,850
3 Vituity (FKA CEP America California) 695572 Emergency Medicine $1,261,476,477
4 Brown & Toland Physicians 550719 Pediatric Medicine $1,090,315,904
5 GenesisCare (FKA 21st Century Oncology) 956277 Radiology - Radiation Oncology $942,829,416
6 Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation 550882 Family Practice $825,728,385
7 Sharp Community Medical Group 755728 Internal Medicine $797,150,892
8 John Muir Health Physician Network 550477 Family Practice $790,797,851
9 El Camino Health Physicians 995192 Internal Medicine $735,959,554
10 Sante Community Physicians 551906 Family Practice $642,404,810
11 University of California San Francisco Health Physicians (AKA UCSF Health Physicians) 994530 Internal Medicine $559,332,756
12 Seoul Medical Group 551964 Ophthalmology $535,971,862
13 Scripps Clinic 750211 Internal Medicine $529,746,487
14 Stanford Hospitals and Clinics 706374 Internal Medicine $506,367,169
15 Sutter Medical Foundation 550623 Family Practice $502,769,351
16 City of Hope 653808 Oncology - Hematology/Oncology $486,227,840
17 Cedars-Sinai Physicians (FKA Cedars-Sinai Medical Group) 552127 Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist $475,676,212
18 Providence Medical Foundation 550605 Family Practice $428,387,625
19 The Permanente Medical Group 550751 Internal Medicine $420,837,171
20 Cottage Health Physicians 1022805 Internal Medicine $412,259,987
21 MemorialCare Medical Group 550447 Family Practice $402,360,232
22 Scripps Physicians Medical Group 552033 Internal Medicine $397,887,819
23 United Physicians International 551971 Nephrology $388,508,185
24 UC San Diego Health Physicians (FKA UC San Diego Health Physician Network) 550905 Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist $384,438,590
25 Regal Medical Group Inc 552260 Internal Medicine $360,867,097

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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