MDs Growing Pessimistic


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Primary care doctors in the United States feel overworked and nearly half plan to either cut back on how many patients they see or quit medicine entirely, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
    And 60 percent of 12,000 general practice physicians found they would not recommend medicine as a career.
    "The whole thing has spun out of control. I plan to retire early even though I still love seeing patients. The process has just become too burdensome," the Physicians' Foundation, which conducted the survey, quoted one of the doctors as saying.
    The survey adds to building evidence that not enough internal medicine or family practice doctors are trained or practicing in the United States, although there are plenty of specialist physicians.
    Health care reform is near the top of the list of priorities for both Congress and president-elect Barack Obama, and doctor's groups are lobbying for action to reduce their workload and hold the line on payments for treating Medicare, Medicaid and other patients with federal or state health insurance.
    The Physicians' Foundation, founded in 2003 as part of a settlement in an anti-racketeering lawsuit among physicians, medical societies, and insurer Aetna, Inc., mailed surveys to 270,000 primary care doctors and 50,000 practicing specialists.
    The 12,000 answers are considered representative of doctors as a whole, the group said, with a margin of error of about 1 percent. It found that 78 percent of those who answered believe there is a shortage of primary care doctors.
    More than 90 percent said the time they devote to non-clinical paperwork has increased in the last three years and 63 percent said this has caused them to spend less time with each patient.
    Eleven percent said they plan to retire and 13 percent said they plan to seek a job that removes them from active patient care. Twenty percent said they will cut back on patients seen and 10 percent plan to move to part-time work.
    Seventy six percent of physicians said they are working at "full capacity" or "overextended and overworked".
    Many of the health plans proposed by members of Congress, insurers and employers's groups, as well as Obama's, suggest that electronic medical records would go a long way to saving time and reducing costs.
    (Reporting by Maggie Fox; editing by Chris Wilson)
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    About algebra_demystified

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    Mental Health RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Forensic Psychiatric Nursing


  3. by   FireStarterRN
    I'm not surprised. Doctors and Nurses are pretty much on the same page in these attitudes. In fact, I think our common enemy of regulatory overkill and documentation demands have done a lot to bridge the gap of understanding between physicians and nurses.
  4. by   classicdame
    I believe it would also help if more MD's hired/worked along side ANP's so more patients could be seen.
  5. by   HouTx
    Boo Hoo

    Nurse Curmudgeon here --- Wouldn't it be wonderful if Nurses had the power to "reduce their workloads". It's amazing when you realize how much of their income is actually based on work that NURSES perform but is paid to physicians with current coding practices.

    My fantasy? A way to dole out the practitioner's reimbursement based on the 'value' he/she added to the patient's outcome.

    Yeah - they feel overburdened with paperwork - but do they even have a glimmer of how much the average staff nurse has to produce for each patient???? Or the amount of new paperwork that is 'birthed' with each new regulation or congressional idiocy?
  6. by   FireStarterRN
    The physicians I see work long, hard hours. Unless they come from wealthy families they come out of med school with enormous debt. Not only that, the whole process of becoming a medical doctor, from pre-med, applying and getting accepted to med school, making it through med school, then enduring 4 years of residency, is totally and absolutely out of my league.

    I respect and admire MDs for their hard work and accomplishments.
  7. by   CaLLaCoDe
    I feel empathy for the physician I see on a weekly basis who looks so angry, bitter and fatigued. I wish he could sense his anger and hostility on the surface is not helping anybody.

    What really bothers me is when I am having a pleasant day and my coworkers are enjoying my attitude of kindness and charity (I'm not honeslty always lucky to be in that mode!) To see him look at me with cutting chiseled hostility and anger makes me want to be more kind more pleasant, entirely a different mode than his desired goal for me to become as miserable as him. Sometimes I want to say, not disrespectfully but somehow with intended cause, "What's your problem buddy?!"