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    Implementation of healthcare reform means more job openings for physicians

    The basic principles of economics are creeping into healthcare—supply and demand.

    As U.S. healthcare reform progresses, more than 30 million newly-insured patients will be added to the  healthcare system, leaving a small supply of doctors scrambling to keep up with the demand. This is a huge issue, but it also means there are plenty of job openings available, says Jim Stone, president and co-owner of physician recruitment organization The Medicus Firm.

    One-third of all physicians are older than 55, and many of them are retiring, says Stone, who is the new president of the National Association of Physician Recruiters.

    "A lot of the older physicians who, as we evolve in to a post-reform era, they're just simply not interested in continuing to practice," Stone says. "We've got a fixed number of residents who come out of training each year, which is an issue because demand is increasing."

    With the economy rebounding, physician retirement packages are back where they used to be, which is also enticing physicians into hanging up their white coats, Stone says.

    When hiring new physicians, hospitals and practices are likely to focus on candidates who have certain characteristics such as being team-oriented and focused on preventative care, Stone says.

    "With the healthcare reform, it's obvious to those who designed the plan and everyone else that there's no way we're going to adequately care for patients without extending the care to care teams," Stone says. "Primary care physicians are going to have work more in a quarterback role and coordinate care with dieticians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and so on, to do what they can to provide preventative care."

    With thousands of jobs available, physicians can take their pick, Stone says.

    "The difference is finding a practice that is aligned with that physician's style of practice and what they want to do and is in a community in which they are interested in living," Stone says.


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