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Many Physicians Plan To Quit Or Cut Back

From a gobsmacked Reuters:

Many doctors plan to quit or cut back: survey 

Tue Nov 18

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Primary care doctors in the United States feel overworked and nearly half plan to either cut back on how many patients they see or quit medicine entirely, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

And 60 percent of 12,000 general practice physicians found they would not recommend medicine as a career…

The survey adds to building evidence that not enough internal medicine or family practice doctors are trained or practicing in the United States, although there are plenty of specialist physicians.

Health care reform is near the top of the list of priorities for both Congress and president-elect Barack Obama, and doctor’s groups are lobbying for action to reduce their workload and hold the line on payments for treating Medicare, Medicaid and other patients with federal or state health insurance…

The 12,000 answers are considered representative of doctors as a whole, the group said, with a margin of error of about 1 percent. It found that 78 percent of those who answered believe there is a shortage of primary care doctors.

More than 90 percent said the time they devote to non-clinical paperwork has increased in the last three years and 63 percent said this has caused them to spend less time with each patient.

Eleven percent said they plan to retire and 13 percent said they plan to seek a job that removes them from active patient care. Twenty percent said they will cut back on patients seen and 10 percent plan to move to part-time work.

Seventy six percent of physicians said they are working at “full capacity” or “overextended and overworked”.

Many of the health plans proposed by members of Congress, insurers and employers’s groups, as well as Obama’s, suggest that electronic medical records would go a long way to saving time and reducing costs.

The media better get all of these stories out of the way before the Obama ascendency.

Once Mr. Obama begins to “rule” and we are given free universal healthcare, we will never hear another word about this.

After all, putting all of our medical records on Google will solve everything.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Many Physicians Plan To Quit Or Cut Back”

  1. proreason says:

    These overworked doctors better quit the profession before Obamy implements Universal Health Care…..because he may not allow them to leave the profession after that.

    Even though their incomes will be 50% of what their incomes are now.

    Which won’t decrease the patients fees……because the government inefficiences add 30-50% in overhead to all costs……before accounting for fraud.

  2. Helena says:

    I’ve been hearing this for years from every doctor I know. They hate the paperwork. It’s burying them. Plus, the medicare payment per patient is so low, it’s ridiculous. Most doctors are truly dedicated to their profession and their patients and the system is NOT working for them. The only doctors we’ll have left soon will be the immigrants. Rather than subsidize everybody’s care, if the government would legislate caps on malpractice awards, which have become absurd, everyone’s costs would come down. But lawyers give pols money, so that’s out.

  3. Anonymoose says:

    I may speak heresy, but I worked in a hospital over 15 years ago. Even back then it was a mess; one of the worst things I remember was a woman who’s surgery for brain cancer was canceled at the last minute because her insurance had run out.

    Surgical procedures easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are affordable only because we have insurance……yet the same procedures at a vet cost a few hundred dollars. We pay for the insurance premiums and lawsuit liabilities of everyone else. The last I heard (years ago) something like 25% of the money was spent simply keeping track of the money.

    I personally hate the very idea of BLEEP insurance, and wish the complete concept of it could be banned. Anywhere it exists it’s basically private companies scalping for all they can and driving the costs of everything up.

    That’s on top of the let’s-run-everything-like-a-business cancerous plague that is everywhere now. Even non-profit hospitals are run like a business, and spend as much or more time on marketing surveys and customer satisfaction scores as they do on the lowly hospital workers.

    But not everything is suitable to being a business, and you can’t guarantee everyone is going to be well or cost only X amount per procedure. We now have a kooky system with supposedly the best healthcare in the world, yet plenty of people like me avoid going to the doctor because we can’t afford it.

    Heathcare is one of the few things I would like to see turned into a service, just like our utilities, transportation ,etc. You can choose to pay a fee and receive the service or not. Nothing for illegal immigrants and no more co-pays and deductibles. If the system had to accommodate only what people could afford to pay, and lawsuits were limited with caps and realistic limits, then maybe we might have a workable system again. Have doctors decide not we need, not some beancounter who makes work to justify his existence.

    But that’ll never happen, and I only hope I either die of old age or get hit by a bus and avoid the whirlpool of chronic illness and debts that can never be repaid which some people face…….

  4. BillK says:

    Helena said:

    Plus, the medicare payment per patient is so low, it’s ridiculous.

    Just wait until that’s the only payment they can receive – whatever the Federal Government decides a procedure is worth is what they shall be paid.

    (To be fair, it’s really no different with insurance companies, who also decide what’s “reasonable,” leaving insureds to pick up the balance…)

  5. take_no_prisoners says:

    The biggest canard in this whole debate is that electronic medical records save money and time. Save money and time for whom? The government and the insurance industry of course. But they won’t pay for it and give it to the doctors. They want the doctors to pay for it without any increase in compensation to pay for it. There are huge up front capitalization costs and ongoing yearly licensing and servicing fees. Nobody will simply sell a software solution these days–it’s all subscription based. There is no way this pays for itself, let alone reducing the overhead costs of seeing patients. It does make auditing and profiling physicians a whole lot easier less time consuming and cheaper for the government and insurance companies.

  6. Colonel1961 says:

    Here’s a thought outside the box: how about abolishing health insurance? Or abolishing anything but catastrophic health insurance, i.e., covering only procedures in excess of $5,000.00? Think about it. We are no longer health care consumers, but health care gluttons. People aren’t worried about the price of a procedure. ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got insurance!’ People don’t think twice about gorging on quality-of-life medicines that drive up health insurance premiums. There is no concern about obesity, smoking, drunkenness, etc. The doctor will give us a new hip, a new liver, a new heart – what the hell!!

    So, let’s put the doctors, the lawyers, the insurers, the hospitals, and big pharma on a diet and see what happens. Prices will drop – that’s what will happen. And let’s put the power of consumerism back into the hands of the people who earn the money in the first place. Sheesh…

    More Government is NOT the answer and never will be. IMHO.

  7. take_no_prisoners says:

    Colonel1961,
    No doubt about it, the physician shortage will instantly be turned into a physician surplus if people have to pay out of their own pockets for each visit. The amount of money spent on healthcare will instantly be reduced, the amount of money available to trial lawyers will be reduced, and the middle-man overhead of the health insurance industry will be eliminated! This would probably reduce the 16% of GDP spent on health care to about 10%. “Government is not the answer, it is the problem!” Ronald Reagan 40th and best POTUS in our lifetime if not in the history of the U.S.A. Yes, when some smart-ass reporter asks some sorry son of a bitch “Why don’t you see a doctor for all of your obvious health problems” the answer will have to be an honest “After spending my check for 2 packs of cigarettes a day, a 12 pack of beer a day and 2 or three meals at McDonalds, there just isn’t anything left for frill items like doctor visits” instead of “Health Insurance costs too much and I can’t afford it.”

  8. Helena says:

    Amen, Colonel. Now you’re talking. Reagan proposed something of the kind, I believe. But it was too simple. But what about all those newly redundant paper pushers at the insurance companies who’ll get the boot?

  9. proreason says:

    “Colonel1961

    November 19th, 2008 at 4:21 pm
    Here’s a thought outside the box: how about abolishing health insurance?”

    Amen amen.

    Like government, health insurance isn’t the solution, it’s THE PROBLEM.

    When you can’t even find out what something costs, you shouldn’t be surprised when the costs are out of control.

  10. beautyofreason says:

    I’ve also heard this from multiple doctors.

    A gynecologist / obstetrician in my area had to retire early because the insurance coverage had risen to over $100,000 due to malpractice suits. My father is a dentist, pays about half of his income to the government, yet he would still make 80% of that amount if he cut his work days to just two per week. Our government seems to punish productivity by taxing higher income brackets and giving money to people who don’t always need or deserve that free check. Greedy lawyers and excessive malpractice payouts hurt insurance companies that help doctors stay in practice.

    In short, we’re screwed.

  11. 1sttofight says:

    Health insurance got started during WW2 in order for companies to attract employees. Before then people just paid the doctor or hospital bill themselves.

    Of course the cost of medical care has been rising steadily ever since.


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