Physicians Harbor Labor Day Blues
These are the same Generation Xers who want more hospital-based employers and who don't want crazy working hours. They want a steadier paycheck, and with the economy in upheaval, they are going for Plan-B: Work as long as possible, Sorrell says.
In the survey, physicians cited economic scenarios affecting either their family or medical practices that are impacting their immediate and future plans.
"I had planned to leave the military and enter private practice," says one physician. "The group that I hoped to join was unable to follow through with their offer as two partners had to delay their own retirement due to the recession and the uncertainty created by the healthcare reform legislation. Thus, no position was available to me, so I am still in military practice with a 'wait-and-see' philosophy."
"In a group of 8, we struggled with pay in 2008," says another physician. "There were times we all took no salary. Medicare held up payments. Patients treat us like a bank. Employees have better benefits than we get ourselves. I would quit entirely if I did not have a child in college."
Added a third physician, "The recession has had a dramatic impact on my practice. I practice radiology and while volume has only decreased slightly, reimbursements have diminished and the business of radiology has allowed employers to extract additional work out of some physicians, while letting others go. Salaries have decreased up to 50%."
There certainly is a demand for more doctors. The American Association of Medical College's Center for Workforce Studies estimates a shortage of 124,000-159,000 physicians by 2025.
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