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    34% of doctors will leave profession within 10 years: poll

    If you’re thinking about getting out of the medical profession within the next decade, you’re not alone. Thirty-four percent of current physicians polled by healthcare staffing company Jackson Healthcare say they will leave the profession within 10 years.

    The company surveyed more than 2,000 doctors to measure practice trends and attitudes. General practitioners most likely to give up medicine include family practitioners, general surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, and obstetricians/gynecologists.

    Of the doctors surveyed, 16% said they would work part-time, retire, leave the profession, or consider getting out of medicine this year, and 55% of those who said so are younger than age 55.

    Doctors saying they will leave the profession cited economic reasons (56%) and healthcare reform (51%) as the biggest culprits. Other factors included feeling burned out, making a career change, reaching retirement age, or taking early retirement.

    The trend means “a real healthcare access problem” for an aging population of patients with major health problems on the horizon, says Richard L. Jackson, chairman and chief executive officer of Jackson Healthcare. “Physicians are retiring in large numbers just as baby boomers are starting to turn 65,” he adds.

    Although the survey was conducted before the U.S. Supreme Court announced a ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 55% of the physicians asked said the ACA should be repealed, and 31% said the law does not do enough to address the cost and access issues Americans face although they believe that a single-payer system could. In addition, 61% said the ACA would not improve the quality of healthcare, although 54% said the new law would provide patients with better access to healthcare.

    Of the medical practices surveyed, 82% currently treat Medicare patients, and 74% currently treat Medicaid patients. New patients are being accepted by 82% of those asked. Family practitioners and internists are least likely to take on new Medicare patients. The reason? Lower reimbursements.

    The survey also found that 74% of physician practices are not involved in an accountable care organization or Patient-Centered Medical Home, although 9% said they plan to join one this year.

    Go back to current issue of eConsult

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