Doctors Pessimistic About Health Care Reform

Will Your Doctor Quit? Doctors Pessimistic About Health Care Reform, Says New Survey

Doctors who work in solo or small group practices and are and office-based feel that current health care reform is on the wrong track, says a recent survey conducted by Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation (DPMA Foundation).

The survey was conducted by fax and online between April 18, 2012 to May 22, 2012. Of the original 36,000 surveys on health care reform that were sent to doctors in active clinical practice, 699 were completed for a response rate of 4.3%. The respondents included doctors from 45 states as well as 130 who did not provide geographical information. The majority of the respondents are in solo or small group practice (81%) and office-based (89%) but a small minority are hospital-based (11%).

According to the survey on health care reform, 90% of the doctors who participated believe that health care in the United States in on the wrong track. Sixty-five (65) percent of the respondents blame government involvement for the current problems with the American medical system.

As one respondent identified as a General Surgeon from Georgia wrote as a response to one of the opened ended questions on the survey about health care reform:

“The best chance for controlling cost is limiting government interference and increasing patient responsibility for cost. If the patient pays at time of service and files an insurance claim on their own, it reduces the likelihood of superfluous utilization, AND reduces insurance company denials since the patient is following up on their own claim. Also, removing insurance purchasing from employers makes insurers responsible to policy holder, not employers. Government regulations increase cost by imposing burdens for practices (“compliance officers”, etc) as well as increasing cost of doing business (FDA regs increase cost of medical equipment, for example), but the physicians cannot pass costs to patients because of insurer reimbursement model. The problem is multi-tiered, as will be the solution.”

Even more alarming were some of the responses involving the future careers of doctors in light of the current health care reform.

When asked about how current changes in the medical system would affect their desire to practice medicine, 82.6 percent of the doctors who responded to the survey on health care reform stated that they were thinking about quitting the medical profession.

Furthermore, when asked about lower Medicare and Medicaid payments as a result of health care reform, 48.9 percent of the doctors indicated that they would stop taking new Medicaid patients and 42 percent would stop taking new Medicare patients.

However, not all of the responses were negative. A small percentage (4.6 percent) of the respondents indicated that the changes to the American medical system as a result of health care reform has left them feeling re-energized.

Furthermore, groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) has expressed support for health care reform. In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the AMA stated last week:

“The health reform law upheld by the Supreme Court simplifies administrative burdens, including streamlining insurance claims, so physicians and their staff can spend more time with patients and less time on paperwork. It protects those in the Medicare ‘donut hole,’ including the 5.1 million Medicare patients who saved significantly on prescription drugs in 2010 and 2011. These important changes have been made while maintaining our American system with both private and public insurers.”

The DPMA Foundation provides research and information that supports freedom in medicine for doctors and patients across the country.

What do you think about the results of this survey on health care reform? Are you worried that your doctor might quit?