The ongoing migration by doctors from private practice (self-employment) to working for a hospital or health system appears to have passed a tipping point, and many physicians are unhappy and considering a change.
Fueled by financial pressures, regulatory changes, and the uncertainty of continuing change the trend is increasing. The recruitment of doctors into solo practice settings is “nearly nonexistent,” according to physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins.
More than half (52 percent) of the office-based physician practices tracked by the healthcare information firm SK&A, are owned by hospitals, health systems or medical groups.
What’s more, many doctors intend to make other changes. “In the next one to three years, over 50 percent of physicians plan to cut back on patients, work part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire or take other steps that would reduce patient access to their services,” according to a Merritt Hawkins survey for The Physician’s Foundation.
Disillusionment drives desire for change…
Overall, the Physicians Foundation 2012 Survey of America’s Physicians revealed attitudes behind these changes, citing “a high level of disillusionment among doctors regarding the medical practice environment and the current state of the healthcare system.”
The findings—with over 13,575 physicians responding—indicates that many intend to take one or more steps likely to reduce patient access to their services, limiting physician availability at a time when doctors already are in short supply. The overtone is generally negative among the key findings:
Physicians are not uniform in their opinions, according to the study. “Younger physicians, female physicians, employed physicians and primary care physicians are generally more positive about their profession than older physicians, male physicians, practice owners and specialists.”
Let us know what you think about these survey findings. Your comments are welcome. And for additional reading, see our previous post: Thought-Provoking Questions for Medical Practice Marketing in Disturbing Economic Times.