Health

Another Facet of the Health Care Crisis: Miserable Doctors

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyNov 19, 2008 9:26 PM

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Not only are doctors becoming increasingly, frighteningly scarce, but they're also hating life. A recent survey of 11,950 primary care docs and specialists done by the Physicians' Foundation found that 60 percent would not recommend medicine as a career, while 42 percent said professional morale is either “poor” or “very low.” The reasons for all this depression can be boiled down to insurance companies and policy headaches:

"The reported reasons for the widespread frustration among physicians include increased time dealing with non-clinical paperwork, difficulty receiving reimbursement and burdensome government regulations. Physicians say these issues keep them from the most satisfying aspect of their job: patient relationships."

Food for thought, Obama? As for all those Medicare cut proposals being thrown around, 82 percent said their practices would be “unsustainable” if pay cuts were made. A whopping 94 percent reported that the time they spend on non-clinical paperwork has gone up in the past three years, with 63 percent saying the paperwork leads to less time spent on each patient. And of course, there's the shortage, which is already alive and well: 78 percent of the physicians surveyed believe there's an existing dearth of primary care doctors, while 49 percent say they plan to reduce the number of patients they see, or even stop practicing over the next three years. Yikes. Related: RB: Get Thee to Medical School!

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