50% of Primary Care Doctors Planning on Cutting Hours, Retiring or Quitting

CNN reports on the results of an interesting survey of primary care doctors which found that nearly 50% of them are looking to quit or reduce hours. Many of the reasons cited dealt with too much red tape surrounding insurance and government.

Obviously an interesting statistic given my recent departure.

The breakdown is as follows (PDF):

- 11%, or more than 35,000 doctors nationwide, said they plan to retire
– 13% said they plan to seek a job in a non-clinical healthcare setting, which would remove them from active patient care
– 20% said they will cut back on patients seen
– 10% said they will work part-time

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7 Responses to 50% of Primary Care Doctors Planning on Cutting Hours, Retiring or Quitting

  1. Lisa says:

    When I heard this story, I wondered what I would do if my physician of more than 20 yrs were to retire. My stomach clenched and my head spun. I have mulitiple chronic ailments and would hate to have to start from scratch with someone else. From what this report is saying, I would be lucky to even find another doctor.

    If Obama wants to give everyone a primary care physician then he will have to offer some darn good incentives to encourage medical students to pursue a career in family medicine. How about offering a percentage off their student loans for every year they maintain or are part of a family practice. Offer training in business and insurance paperwork as part of their medical training. Offer incentives to established physicians for taking on interns in their practices. Offer incentives to doctors who accept government sanctioned medical insurance programs (medicare, medicaid, etc.) In other words…. make it worthwhile to practice family medicine.

  2. Matt says:

    I saw this, also. It certainly came as no surprise to me.

    My father, a now-retired family physician who practiced for over 25 years and only quit because he was physically disabled, hated the red tape. He had his own private practice (not part of an HMO) and loved helping people, but hated bureaucracy. He has said repeatedly that if he were to return to practice, he would do a cash business and not accept insurance; insurance – especially Medicare and Medicaid – is a nightmare of astonishing proportions.

    Put me squarely in the camp of people against government-run health care. Paperwork is the problem, and any massive, single-payer insurance program could not possibly come with less paperwork. How about doctors just get back to curing sick people instead of filling out forms?

  3. John Wright says:

    One thing to change is make patients file their own insurance. Making doctors accept assignment is costly and time consuming for an office. After all, it is the patient’s insurance. If you have damage to your house, the contractor doesn’t file the repair work to your homeowner’s insurance for you, why should health insurance be different.

  4. G. Ralph Kuntz, MD says:

    I did it (retired) in October 2007 to write software full-time for a medical software company I co-founded.

    I was sued for the first time in May 2006 after practicing for 10 years, and although the case was eventually dismissed with prejudice, I lost a lot of sleep over the eight months that the case dragged on.

    Never again!

  5. Steve Wirth says:

    In my medical school class of ’85, we asked ourselves, “Is there life after medicine?” Perhaps there is time for one hobby, for a close friend or two; a family maybe. Mostly there is the demanding call of the next patient.

    The life of medicine is fulfilling when we as physicians keep learning and helping others to live a better life. But even that reward bleeds out, hemorrhaging to the arterial wound of insurance hassles, excessive hours, fear of litigation, and debt.

    I recently saw a patient who is a successful, professional artist. I told him how I envied his ability to make a living that way. He laughed. While I was imagining life as an artist, he was thinking how fulfilling it must be to help people for a living. I think it was Kierkegaard who pointed out that we can choose the artistic, the ethical or religious life, and the practice of medicine falls under that ethical category.

  6. Colorado Health Plans says:

    Terrific… I believe this is speaking the truth. Thank you very much! Kelly Walters

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