The growing strength of managed care has diminished the financial and clinical autonomy of many orthopaedic surgeons. In part to offset these negative trends, new relationships are being developed to define doctors' methods of contracting with health-maintenance organizations. These include physician practice management companies (PPMs), independent practice associations, management service organizations, and physician-sponsored organizations. Each entity offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. While the PPM is the most popular new vehicle to offset adverse market trends, it carries with it some of the greatest potential pitfalls. In every case, before negotiating to join one of these new entities, it is important for a physician to have a solid understanding of the competing claims made by each entity, as well as insight into the fiscal health of the particular company in question. For some doctors, these arrangements offer a solution to current woes. For others, PPMs interpose another meddlesome intermediary in a market already bloated by layers of bureaucracy.