Survey: Many physicians unhappy with their hospital employer
Friday, September 28, 2018
A new survey with a whopping 9,000 physicians tells us that more than 30 percent (32 percent) of those surveyed said they do not see Medicaid patients, or limit the number they do see. Almost 90 percent (88 percent) of physicians said some, many or all of their patients are impacted by social determinants of health.
The survey was conducted by the Physicians Foundation and also showed that 78 percent of those physicians experience burnout — which is becoming a highly covered topic of late — and 46 percent said relations between themselves and hospitals are "somewhat" or "mostly negative."
That is a staggeringly high number of caregivers who say that their relationships with their employer is not good. Of those, only about three in 10 (31 percent) called themselves independent practice owners, down from 33 percent in 2016 and 48.5 percent in 2012. And just 10 percent said they feel they're able to significantly influence the healthcare system.
This, similar to the burnout factor they feel, has led the majority (55 percent) to say that their morale is "somewhat" or "very negative."
And, in what could be terrible news for the profession and every consumer served by these physicians, almost half (46 percent) said they plan to change careers in some capacity.
The physician shortage has been heavily reported for the better part of a decade — and this news won’t make matters any better. The United States could see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030, impacting patient care across the nation, according to recent data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The report, "The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2016-2030," updates and aligns with estimates conducted in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and shows a projected shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by the end of the next decade.
When their career satisfaction is so sorely impacted — as reported by the Physicians Foundation — it’s fair to assume that there’s some truth to the mood here. This is not the only recent report to back these results, especially the physician dissatisfaction.
A separate Medscape survey of 15,000 practicing physicians from earlier in 2018 found that about two-thirds of U.S. physicians said they felt burned out, depressed even or a combination of the two. Family physicians said they were the most burned out, followed by intensivists, internists, neurologists and OB-GYNs.
One of the most profound takeaways from the survey is that just 7 percent said they are feeling "very positive" about their work; 37 percent said they feel "somewhat positive;" while 37 percent said they feel "somewhat negative" about their work. Nearly 18 percent said they feel "very negative" about their work.
As seems pretty obvious from the Foundation survey, the physicians interviewed said "the interests of hospitals and physicians have not always aligned and the relationship between physicians and hospitals can be a contentious one."
What do we see in this regard? Not much good from the physician’s view: just 2.7 percent "strongly agree" with the idea that hospital employment of physicians is likely to enhance quality of care and decrease costs, down from 8.1 percent in 2016, and 10.6 percent "agree," down from 25.7 percent in 2016. Almost 30 percent "disagree" with that idea, but 28 percent "strongly disagree."
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