SOURCE: LocumTenens.com

September 24, 2007 13:58 ET

Physicians Report Growing Dissatisfaction With "Business" of Medicine

LocumTenens.com Survey Highlights Issues That May Worsen a Growing Physician Shortage

ALPHARETTA, GA--(Marketwire - September 24, 2007) - In a decade when it seems the news media report a physician shortage in another U.S. community or medical specialty weekly, physicians report increasing frustration with practicing medicine in today's healthcare marketplace.

Out of almost 2,400 physicians responding to a national survey conducted this summer by LocumTenens.com (http://www.locumtenens.com/comp_survey07), only 3% said they were not frustrated by nonclinical aspects of their profession. The remaining respondents identified with a list of possible frustrations as follows:

--  Reimbursement issues - 29%
--  Administrative and business agendas interfere with clinical
    decisions - 22%
--  Medical liability issues - 19%
--  Lifestyle issues: Too much time at work - 15%
--  Federal regulations, policies, procedures - 8%
    

"Most physicians don't go into medicine for the money," LocumTenens.com Senior Vice President Pamela McKemie said. "However, many don't anticipate the business challenges of practicing medicine today, and they dislike that nonclinical concerns -- like getting paid for services rendered or justifying treatment plans -- take them away from their primary focus of caring for patients."

Physician Shortage Documented

The LocumTenens.com findings follow the release over the past few years of considerable data validating a growing physician shortage in the United States. For example:

--  While the U.S. population grew by 30% over the last quarter-century
    (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the number of physicians produced by
    U.S. medical schools has remained flat at approximately 16,000 physicians
    per year since 1980, according to the Association of American Medical
    Colleges (AAMC).
--  In an October 2006 report titled "Physician Supply and Demand:
    Projections to 2020," the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration
    projected a shortfall of 55,100 physicians in 2020, primarily in non-
    primary-care specialties.
--  In a statement released September 29, 2006, American Medical
    Association President-Elect Edward Langston acknowledged a growing U.S,
    physician shortage and pledged the association's continued support for
    regions and specialties in need of more doctors.
--  In a June 2006 report the AAMC called for, among other things, a 30%
    increase in accredited medical school enrollment by 2015 and elimination of
    the current Medicare restriction on the number of funded residency
    positions so that graduate medical education programs can accommodate more
    graduates of accredited U.S. medical schools.
--  Five years ago Richard Cooper, MD, former director of the Health
    Policy Institute at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a national expert
    on physician workforce issues, projected a 50,000-physician shortage by
    2010 that could grow to as many as 200,000 physicians by 2020.
    

Medical Practice Affirmed

Regardless of their frustration, almost three-fourths of respondents (72%) said they would choose medicine if they had their careers to plan again. The responses break out by specialty (from most satisfied with practicing medicine to least satisfied) as follows:

                        yes             no
Psychiatry              79%             21%
Cardiology              77%             23%
Internal Medicine       76%             24%
Pediatrics              75%             25%
Anesthesiology          69%             31%
General Surgery         65%             35%
Orthopedic Surgery      65%             35%
Radiology               65%             35%
Obstetrics/Gyn          59%             41%

"What is reassuring about our survey results is the generally altruistic tone of physicians' answers regarding what they like most about practicing medicine," McKemie said. "The vast majority talked about the satisfaction of doing something that matters, the intellectual stimulation of solving clinical challenges, or the thrill of actually implementing medical procedures." LocumTenens.com received more than 1,900 physician responses on this topic.

Regarding compensation, the physician salary survey results indicate averages by specialty (those staffed by LocumTenens.com), as follows:

--  Anesthesiology    $340,444
--  General Surgery   $259,896
--  Psychiatry        $169,833
--  Radiology         $479,629
    

Founded in 1995, LocumTenens.com is a full-service physician/CRNA recruiting firm specializing in anesthesiology jobs, cardiology jobs, psychiatry jobs, radiology jobs, surgery jobs and CRNA jobs with U.S. hospitals, medical groups and community health centers. LocumTenens.com is part of the Jackson Healthcare Solutions family of companies. To learn more, visit http://www.locumtenens.com/welcome.

What Physicians Would Change About Practicing Medicine -- Sample Comments:

"Give the practice of medicine back to the physician."

"I would return the patient-doctor relationship to one of greater trust and cut out the intervention of the 'suits' who deem what is and is not necessary in a patient's care."

"Bureaucracy, excessive paperwork, placing the dollar above a patient's well-being."

"Restrict business people entering the management of medical practice and (the) doctor-patient relationship."

"A little more reimbursement, less paperwork, more actual patient interaction."

"Influence of dollars on diagnosis and practice."

"The dehumanization brought on by over-emphasis on efficiency and cost savings."

"It has gotten to be too much of a business and less about the patient."

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Billie Wickstrom
    888-268-2456