May 22, 2013

Survey Says: More Docs Plan Early Retirement

Survey Says: More Docs Plan Early Retirement

With the retirement looming for many physicians, the financial and operational planning for the future of the practice, and the implications for hospital practice, as well, will require several years of planning. Understanding the timing and number of physicians finishing residency programs 3, 4 or 5 years from now, and predicting the retirement of the practice’s physicians, and those on staff and acting as hospital lists, is an important part of the planning practices and hospital administrators need to study.

Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income, a survey of more than 600 doctors found. Six in 10 physicians (62%) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years, a survey from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found.

Another 55% of surveyed doctors believe others will scale back hours because of the way medicine is changing, but the survey didn’t elaborate greatly on how it was changing. Three-quarters think the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine, although that is an increase from the 2011 survey result of 69%. “Physicians recognize ‘the new normal’ will necessitate major changes in the profession that require them to practice in different settings as part of a larger organization that uses technologies and team-based models for consumer (patient) care,” the survey’s findings stated.

About two-thirds of the survey responders said they believe physicians and hospitals will become more integrated in coming years. In the last 2 years, 31% moved into a larger practice, results found. Nearly eight in 10 believe midlevel providers will play a larger role in directing primary care.

Four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012, and more than half said the pay cut was 10% or less, according to Deloitte. Among physicians reporting a pay cut, four in 10 blame the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and 48% of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2012 as a result of the health reform law.

Source: Physicians News

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