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
||Physician Group Name
||Hill Physicians Medical Group
||UCLA Health System Physicians (FKA UCLA Medical Group)
||Vituity (FKA CEP America California)
||Brown & Toland Physicians
||GenesisCare (FKA 21st Century Oncology)
||Radiology - Radiation Oncology
||Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
||Sharp Community Medical Group
||John Muir Health Physician Network
||El Camino Health Physicians
||Sante Community Physicians
||University of California San Francisco Health Physicians (AKA UCSF Health Physicians)
||Seoul Medical Group
||Stanford Hospitals and Clinics
||Sutter Medical Foundation
||City of Hope
||Oncology - Hematology/Oncology
||Cedars-Sinai Physicians (FKA Cedars-Sinai Medical Group)
||Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist
||Providence Medical Foundation
||The Permanente Medical Group
||Cottage Health Physicians
||MemorialCare Medical Group
||Scripps Physicians Medical Group
||United Physicians International
||UC San Diego Health Physicians (FKA UC San Diego Health Physician Network)
||Anesthesiology - Anesthesiologist
||Regal Medical Group Inc
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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