cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
This blog is something of a follow-on to that of yesterday discussing the future of health care in this country. I had the opportunity to ask my personal physician during my last visit just how long he would be continuing to practice. He told me that he planned to practice for another five or six years and then look at retirement or continuing depending upon what health care looked like at that point. He is now part of one of the ‘big’ systems in this area.
That is not a seldom-heard answer these days as doctors are looking to the future given the new world of PPACA (a/k/a ObamaCare) and what it entails for them and the way in which they will be permitted to practice medicine. I saw the results of a recent survey of physicians that was done by a doctor recruiting firm. The survey was done with 2,218 physicians responding.
The results bear some serious consideration:
34% of those doctors said they were planning to leave their practice in the next decade given low compensation coupled with “the hassles” of healthcare reform.
16% said they were strongly considering or had already decided to leave the practice of medicine entirely or to at least go part-time in the coming year. Of this group of physicians, 55% were under the age of 55; that is still quite young in the practice of medicine. These doctors are not retiring so much as they are simply leaving the profession.
Interestingly, the physicians were “upset on both ends of the political spectrum”. One group feels that PPACA went too far with government inserting itself between them and their patients, while the other group believes PPACA didn’t go far enough and wish we would move fully to a single-payer system of healthcare.
All this needs to be viewed against the backdrop of more people coming into the healthcare system who will seek care at the same time that we have an acknowledged shortage of doctors in Wisconsin and the country in general. That shortage is obviously going to get worse before we can begin to replace those leaving with new graduates. The Massachusetts experience (RomneyCare, if you wish) saw the wait for appointments with primary care physicians go from a week or less to more than a month; in some areas of the state, that wait time grew to a month and one-half.
As it stands today, Wisconsin won’t be much different.
Worse still, the survey I cited also pointed to the fact that specialists were more inclined to leave their profession in the next decade than were primary care physicians. Those specialties included Oncologists and Hematologists at a 57% rate; Otolaryngologists and General Surgeons at a 49% rate; Cardiologists at a 45% rate, and Urologists at a 42% rate.