Why the Doctor Shortage Will Be Worse Than You Think

Physicians are altering their work habits in a variety of ways to work less with more becoming hospital employees or cutting back on hours their practices are open and limiting the number of patients they will see. Doctors are working 6 percent fewer hours than four years ago and treating nearly 17 percent fewer patients, according to a new survey out this month from doctor staffing company Merritt Hawkins for The Physicians Foundation.

More on physicians’ reduced working hours in Forbes.

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe Barnett says:

    Confirms that doctors respond to incentives and are becoming employees rather than independent professionals: “Only one-third of physicians are projected to be ‘independent’ by next year compared to nearly 60 percent…considered independent in 2000.”

  2. August says:

    In a traditional market, such an increase in demand would raise dollar price. However, with dollar prices set by the government the time price (waiting time) will rise instead.

  3. Dorothy Calabrese MD says:

    There is a huge international pool of capable, English speaking, newly-minted foreign-trained medical school graduates every year. Many would be happy to immigrate, do their residency training and raise their families in the US. Many are leaving countries where the monies paid under US government healthcare price controls are a relative fortune. Some leave a country like Canada, because they want to escape a socialized system where private insurance is outlawed.

    HHS has total federal agency discretion to control funding and expansion of physician residency training programs. They can quickly expand the nation’s physician pool.

    Furthermore, the medical profession has dramatically extended the required post-graduate training years since I graduated from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1976. It unconscionably forces young women doctors to delay starting their families at child birth ages we recommend as optimal for our patients. . . or prevents these young women physicians from entering the medical field best suited to their talents because they don’t want to outsource raising their children.

    As physicians, we have always known and discuss with each other that one of the primary reasons that training time was extended so dramatically was to delay young physician entry into the marketplace.

    Dorothy Calabrese MD
    Allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA

  4. Floccina says:

    That is why we need to make it easier and more enjoyable to become an MD (RN, PA, NP, LPN also).

  5. Jimmy says:

    I agree with Floccina… Making some of these professions more enjoyable and easier (from an application/administration standpoint) to obtain credentials would help fix what obamacare is messing up.

  6. Charlotte Spencer says:

    The Affordable Care Act has gone above and beyond to cut physicians payments from government programs. If this government smothers physicians with all these regulations and threatens them more often than not with low reimbursements, do they really expect them to want to work longer hours and do more for people for less?
    Granted. This is one of those professions where doctors should care more about the patient and less about their financial gain. However, as we have discussed several times, they also have bills to pay and families to support…if Obamacare makes it so hard for physicains to make a fair living according to their professional performance, then no surprise there is a shortage.

  7. Jordan says:

    This is why politicians have to have their own healthcare system. Because I’m sure there are any number of doctors being overworked, underpaid, and generally marginalized that would love to have Pelosi under the knife right about now.

  8. Robert says:

    Floccina, that would just make too much sense.

  9. Alex says:

    Things just get worse and worse.