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Most Docs Surveyed Claim Less Control Over Healthcare Delivery

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 9, 2009

Nearly three out of four physicians say they have less control over the way they practice medicine than they did five years ago, according to a new Internet survey from Jackson Healthcare.

The survey of 1,978 physicians in 50 states blamed the perceived loss of control on medical malpractice litigation, and insurance and government interference. However, 85% of the physicians say the threat of medical malpractice litigation is their primary obstacle to practicing medicine as they see fit.

"We found that regardless of a physician’s political affiliation, the respondents attributed the practice of defensive medicine to excessive waste in the healthcare system," said Rick Jackson, chairman/CEO of Jackson Healthcare, an HIT and clinician staffing provider based in Alpharetta, GA.

Jackson found that 62% of physicians disagreed with the American Medical Association's support of healthcare reform, including 46% who say they "strongly disagree." When asked which piece of existing legislation they most support, 44% selected HR 3400, 15% selected HR 3200, 7% selected the Senate Finance Committee bill, and 19% supported none of these plans. Although no piece of existing legislation "very strongly" represented physician views, 92% of respondents said tort reform had to be a primary component of any healthcare legislation..

Physicians also want healthcare reform legislation to include:

  • Private insurance industry reform, including the elimination of pre-existing condition refusals, the elimination of dropped coverage (except in instances of fraud), and portability (78%)

  • Allow professional, trade and industry associations, including Chambers of Commerce, to provide healthcare insurance to member groups (67%)

  • Allow individuals to opt-out of Medicare or their employer-sponsored plan, and provide credits for them to purchase a plan on the individual market (61%)

  • Create an insurance exchange that provides competition on health insurance plans (54%)

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