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Old 02-01-2013, 11:15 PM  
Taco John Taco John is offline
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Survey: Pysicians reducing their hours/access

Comprehensive Survey of 13,575 U.S. Physicians Points Toward Substantial Challenges

Research Commissioned by The Physicians Foundation Also Examines Physician Morale and Perspectives on Current / Future State of U.S. Healthcare System

Boston, MA, September 24, 2012— American patients are likely to experience significant and increasing challenges in accessing care if current physician practice patterns trends continue, according to a comprehensive new survey of practicing physicians. One of the largest physician surveys ever undertaken in the U.S., the research was commissioned by The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and help facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients.

Physicians are working fewer hours, seeing fewer patients and limiting access to their practices in light of significant changes to the medical practice environment, according to the research, titled “A Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives.” The research estimates that if these patterns continue, 44,250 full-time-equivalent (FTE) physicians will be lost from the workforce in the next four years. The survey also found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent of physicians will cut back on patients seen, work part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire, or take other steps likely to reduce patient access. In addition, should 100,000 physicians transition from practice-owner to employed status over the next four years (such as working in a hospital setting), the survey indicates that this will lead to 91 million fewer patient encounters.

“It is clear that the introduction of nearly 30 million new patients into the U.S. healthcare system through healthcare reform, added to the already growing physician shortage, will have profound implications for patient access to medical care,” said Walker Ray, M.D., vice president of The Physicians Foundation and chair of its Research Committee. “The rate of private practice physicians leaving the medical field, as well as changes in practice patterns that reduce the number of hours spent seeing and treating patients, is alarming. When these lost hours are added up, we get a much fuller and more ominous picture of the kind of access crisis that patients may soon face.”

More than half of physicians (52 percent) have limited the access of Medicare patients to their practices or are planning to do so, while one out of four physicians (26 percent) have already closed their practices altogether to Medicaid patients, the survey shows. Physicians cited rising operating costs, time constraints and diminishing reimbursement as the primary reasons why they are unable to accept additional Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The survey, fielded online from late March to early June 2012 by Merritt Hawkins for The Physicians Foundation, is based on responses from 13,575 physicians across the U.S. The overall margin of error (MOE) for the entire survey is (μ ± 0.998 percent), which indicates a “low to very low” sampling error for a survey designed to draw opinions and beliefs from a large population. Generally, an overall MOE at 99 percent confidence is considered highly trustworthy at +/- 2 percent or less, and all questions within the survey met this criterion.


Physician Morale

An overwhelming 80 percent of physicians cited “patient relationships” as the No. 1 most satisfying part of their job. Yet the survey also found an overwhelming majority of physicians, 77 percent, are pessimistic about the future of medicine. Eighty-two percent believe they have little ability to change the healthcare system.

Multiple factors were cited as driving widespread feelings of discontent among the nation’s physicians. “Liability / defensive medicine pressures” (related to potential malpractice lawsuits) was cited first, followed by “Medicare / Medicaid / government regulations,” “reimbursement issues” and “uncertainty / changes of health reform.” These issues and others cited throughout the study tend to distract or interfere with the time physicians spend with their patients, according to survey respondents.

“The level of pessimism among America’s physicians is very troubling,” said Lou Goodman, Ph.D., president of The Physicians Foundation and CEO of the Texas Medical Association. “More than 84 percent of physicians feel that the medical profession is in decline and nearly 58 percent are reluctant to recommend medicine as a career to their children. That means we need to make significant changes to ensure that we preserve the patient-physician relationship and continue to have the brightest minds going into medicine.”

Healthcare Cost Drivers

When asked about the factors driving increases in healthcare costs, “defensive medicine” was cited as the No. 1 cause for 69 percent of physicians, followed by an “aging population” (65 percent). On average, older patients visit physicians three times as often compared to younger patients. Other factors ranked included “cost of pharmaceuticals,” “advances in technology / treatment” and “social conditions.”

Additional survey findings of note include:

• Close to 92 percent of physicians are unsure where the health system will be or how they will fit into it three to five years from now
• More than 62 percent of physicians said Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are either unlikely to increase healthcare quality and decrease costs, or that any quality / cost gains will not be worth the effort
• Physicians are divided on the efficacy of the “medical homes” concept, and many (37.9 percent) remain uncertain about their structure and purpose
• While close to 70 percent of physicians have implemented electronic medical records (EMR), 47.4 percent have significant concerns that EMR poses a risk to patient privacy

“The 13,000 plus physicians who participated in this landmark survey, which included nearly 8,000 open-ended responses, strongly demonstrates the overwhelming desire of America’s physicians to share their perspectives and concerns about the current state of medicine,” said Tim Norbeck, CEO of The Physicians Foundation. “The accuracy, rigor and sheer scope of this survey should make it an invaluable piece of research to policy makers, healthcare providers, media and other stakeholders that truly want to understand the challenges that face America’s healthcare system.”

http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/...al-challenges/
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #2
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Going to be interesting to see how this works out as more physicians limit their hours at the same time that they system is flooded with every sniffle and sore.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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Going to be interesting to see how this works out as more physicians limit their hours at the same time that they system is flooded with every sniffle and sore.
What does your understanding of economics tell you about what happens when the demand for something rises?
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:37 PM   #4
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What does your understanding of economics tell you about what happens when the demand for something rises?
You understand that demand interacts with supply, no? Your question doesn't seem to understand that. To answer the question, that would depend on the supply and the supplier. In this case it appears that as demand is increasing, supply is decreasing - which means higher prices.

Personally, I think we'll get to a place where we see more doctors refusing to accept insurance and dealing with patients on a cash only basis.

At this point, I expect the government to move to "increase supply" in order to control costs and meet the needs of the market. What happens after that depends on how the physicians react.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:05 AM   #5
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Exactly what I think will happen, said as much before it passed.

Health care will take a dive, doctors will retire instead of doing this crap.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by La literatura View Post
What does your understanding of economics tell you about what happens when the demand for something rises?
What happens when the demand for something rises in an industry that is going through a transition to more and more government involvement and control? Also consider that supply is bottle necked by a substantial certification process, and that the product can not be manufactured.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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There's never been a better time to join the healthcare industry. It's booming. The industry doesn't need a doctor to check out every sore and sniffle. The medical profession has nurses for that. We certainly need more doctors, but those with nursing degrees are going to be very valuable when 30 million more people with insurance go to a hospital for a problem.

More states may grant Osteopathic degrees the same leverage as MD degrees, like Iowa and New Jersey, which opens up the door to more people.

This gloom and doom from a professional doctor's association is a little short-sighted. "More people have access to health care, I'm pissed!"
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:03 PM   #8
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Why don't you put up the age demographics of practicing physicians and note the number reaching retirement. That would have nothing to do with cutting back hours.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
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There's never been a better time to join the healthcare industry. It's booming. The industry doesn't need a doctor to check out every sore and sniffle. The medical profession has nurses for that. We certainly need more doctors, but those with nursing degrees are going to be very valuable when 30 million more people with insurance go to a hospital for a problem.

More states may grant Osteopathic degrees the same leverage as MD degrees, like Iowa and New Jersey, which opens up the door to more people.

This gloom and doom from a professional doctor's association is a little short-sighted. "More people who can't payhave access to health care, I'm pissed!"
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:19 AM   #10
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Physicians and Dentists who see only cash patients are doing quite well. We will see more of this.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by La literatura View Post
There's never been a better time to join the healthcare industry. It's booming. The industry doesn't need a doctor to check out every sore and sniffle. The medical profession has nurses for that. We certainly need more doctors, but those with nursing degrees are going to be very valuable when 30 million more people with insurance go to a hospital for a problem.

More states may grant Osteopathic degrees the same leverage as MD degrees, like Iowa and New Jersey, which opens up the door to more people.

This gloom and doom from a professional doctor's association is a little short-sighted. "More people have access to health care, I'm pissed!"
You're close to being logical in the DC area. Logical thinking is not allowed. Unless your post supports some far right agenda or way of thinking you're a socialist anti American scum bag per 90% of DC posters.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #12
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You're close to being logical in the DC area. Logical thinking is not allowed. Unless your post supports some far right agenda or way of thinking you're a socialist anti American scum bag per 90% of DC posters.
What if your employer told you that they wanted you to work harder (see more patients), work longer hours (see more patients), and pay you less(cut medicare, which insurance compensation rates are based on)? Would you agree to that?

Not many would. So why would you do it to some of the brightest minds in one of the most important fields?
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:12 PM   #13
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What if your employer told you that they wanted you to work harder (see more patients), work longer hours (see more patients), and pay you less(cut medicare, which insurance compensation rates are based on)? Would you agree to that?

Not many would. So why would you do it to some of the brightest minds in one of the most important fields?
whaaat? You mean they are cutting teachers salaries?
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cephalic Trauma View Post
What if your employer told you that they wanted you to work harder (see more patients), work longer hours (see more patients), and pay you less(cut medicare, which insurance compensation rates are based on)? Would you agree to that?

Not many would. So why would you do it to some of the brightest minds in one of the most important fields?
Join a union and throw a hissy fit?
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:13 PM   #15
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What does your understanding of economics tell you about what happens when the demand for something rises?
Prices increase.

Source: I have a degree in Finance.
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