Donald J. Palmisano, MD, JD, FACS
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 10:12 am
A recent survey of over 5,000 physicians and surgeons on the future of healthcare indicates that the anticipated shortage of healthcare professionals may be exacerbated by growing physician sentiment. The medical profession has been projecting a shortage for years, but the findings from this survey indicate two compounding factors.
First, 43 percent of physician respondents indicated that they are contemplating early retirement within the next five years.
Second, nine out of 10 are unwilling to recommend the healthcare profession to family and friends.
In both instances, the responses were attributed to the transformative changes occurring within America’s healthcare system, more specifically as a result of healthcare reform.
For those physicians considering early retirement, many cited the demands on their practices resulting from new legal requirements and continued reimbursement reduction as causes to inhibit practice growth, despite the anticipated influx of newly insured Americans into the healthcare system. In addition, 60 percent of respondents indicated that the pressure to reduce costs, increase volume, and improve quality will have a negative impact on patient care and how doctors practice medicine.
Finally, the transformative changes that are causing practicing physicians to consider early retirement are also impacting their desire to recommend the healthcare profession, a career that is often viewed as a legacy being passed down from one generation to the next.
“The physician sentiments expressed in the Future of Health Care Survey are deeply concerning and disheartening,” said Donald J. Palmisano, MD, JD, FACS, former president of the American Medical Association and member of The Doctors Company Board of Governors. “Today, we are perilously close to a true crisis as newly insured Americans enter the healthcare system and our population continues to age. Unfortunately, we may be facing a shift from a ‘calling,’ which has been the hallmark for generations among physicians, that could threaten the next generation of healthcare professionals.”
The survey, conducted by The Doctors Company, is the largest of its kind on the subject and includes responses from over 5,000 physicians and surgeons from across the United States.
For more information about the study, please visit the Knowledge Center at www.thedoctors.com/future. The Doctors Company is the nation’s largest insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability.