MEDICAL GROUP PRACTICE1
The majority of health professionals render services within the framework of private practice, on a fee-for-service basis. The materials available did not provide a base broad enough for an extensive analysis of the organizational methods of health personnel. Within the area of private practice, however, there are data on a recent development--medical group practice.
Medical group practice is generally defined as a formal association of three or more physicians providing services in more than one medical field or specialty. As a rule, it entails joint ownership of facilities, with income pooled and distributed to members of the group according to some prearranged plan. Medical group practice is sometimes mistaken for plans for the prepayment of medical fees. Group practice refers to a mode of practicing medicine; a prepayment plan is a mode of paying for medical services. In 1946 only about 15 per cent of the listed medical groups had any kind of a prepayment plan of their own.2
The Mayo Clinic was one of the earliest, if not the first, private medical group organized in the United States. It was formed by Dr. W. W. Mayo and his two sons as a result of their experience in furnishing disaster relief after a tornado leveled much of the town____________________
The statistical material here presented is based on (a) a questionnaire survey of all listed medical groups in the United States in 1946; (b) an intensive study of 22 medical groups selected with regard to regional representation, size of community, size of group, type of group, and so on; and (c) about 80 groups in addition to those intensively studied which were briefly visited by a representative of the Public Health Service in the course of travel through 21 states in 1947. The 22 groups comprised a somewhat higher proportion of large groups than occurred in the 368 medical groups located in 1946.
For further details, see Medical Group Practice in the United States by G. Halsey Hunt and Marcus S. Goldstein ( 1951), 70 pp.