The tipping point from private practice to publicly funded settings for early- and mid-career psychiatrists.

Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.)

PubMedID: 17085614

Ranz JM, Vergare MJ, Wilk JE, Ackerman SH, Lippincott RC, Menninger WW, Sharfstein SS, Sullivan A. The tipping point from private practice to publicly funded settings for early- and mid-career psychiatrists. Psychiatr Serv. 2006;57(11):1640-3.
OBJECTIVE
Practice settings for American psychiatrists were examined for recent trends.

METHODS
Surveys were conducted in 1996 (N=970) and 2002 (N=917) among members of the American Psychiatric Association.

RESULTS
Between 1996 and 2002 the percentage of direct patient care hours in publicly funded settings increased from 40 to 50 percent for early-career psychiatrists and from 29 to 44 percent for mid-career psychiatrists. By 2002 the percentage of direct patient care hours was higher in publicly funded settings than in solo office practices for early-career psychiatrists (50 percent versus 17 percent) and mid-career psychiatrists (44 percent versus 29 percent).

CONCLUSIONS
The popular image of the psychiatrist sitting in a private office does not conform with current survey data, which show that psychiatric practice is increasingly taking place in publicly funded settings. Because it extends to mid-career psychiatrists, the shift from private office practice to publicly funded settings is not just a manifestation of early-career psychiatrists' earning a salary while building up their private practices but is a more enduring change in the landscape of psychiatric practice. The authors discuss the implications of these findings with regard to professional identity and training of psychiatrists.