Survey: 60% of Primary Care Physicians Would Choose Another Field

Sep 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from Physicians Practice

    BALTIMORE, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost two-thirds of primary care
 physicians would choose another field if they had their careers to do over,
 a new survey indicates, while more than 50 percent consider themselves
 "second class citizens" compared to surgical and diagnostic specialists.
     (Logo: )
     The survey was conducted for Physicians Practice, an award-winning
 practice-management journal read by more than 275,000 physicians
 nationwide. Conducting the survey was physician search and consulting firm
 Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. The annual survey is intended to measure the
 career satisfaction levels and concerns of primary care doctors, defined as
 family practitioners, general internists, and pediatricians. The survey
 suggests that though primary care doctors are both busy and in increasing
 demand, they are not necessarily satisfied with their place in the medical
     "Between declining reimbursement, rising overhead, and loss of autonomy
 and respect, primary care physicians are feeling battered," notes Pamela
 Moore, senior editor of Physicians Practice. "That makes it more crucial
 than ever for them to create the sort of practice they can actually enjoy."
     Only about 40 percent of primary care physicians surveyed said they
 would stay in primary care if they had their medical education to do over
 again. About 39 percent said they would become surgical or diagnostic
 specialists, while about 22% said they would not choose medicine as a
     Over 80 percent of primary care physicians surveyed indicated that they
 have busy practices, while fewer than 17 percent stated that they are not
 busy enough. Over 57 percent said they are contacted about job
 opportunities about 50 times per year by physician recruiters. Both these
 findings suggest that primary care physicians are in robust demand and that
 the job market for their services is favorable.
     However, about 60 percent of those surveyed felt that the income they
 derive from their practice is disappointing. About 50 percent of primary
 care physicians indicated they earn $150,000 or less a year. By contrast,
 Merritt, Hawkins & Associates' data indicate that cardiologists,
 radiologists and other medical specialists commonly earn $300,000 or more.
 Not surprisingly, fewer than 15 percent consider themselves equal partners
 with surgical and diagnostic specialists, while 85 percent consider
 themselves either "junior partners" or "second class citizens."
     Practice overhead is a concern for many of the primary care physicians
 surveyed. The majority (62 percent) said overhead in their practices runs
 at 50 percent of their income or more. This can make a practice difficult
 to sustain, Moore notes. Almost 40 percent expressed doubt that their
 practices could support projected overhead over the next five years.
     Complete results of the survey are included in the September/October
 issue of Physicians Practice magazine, and online at
     About Physicians Practice. Physicians Practice provides award-winning
 practice-management advice to more than 275,000 physicians through
 partnerships with 60 medical centers throughout the United States. For more
 than 17 years, doctors have trusted Physicians Practice for expertise on
 billing, coding, collections, technology, workflow, staffing, compensation,
 and much more. Physicians Practice is published by CMP Healthcare Media,
 LLC, a division of United Business Media.
     About Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. Merritt, Hawkins & Associates is a
 leading physician search and consulting firm. Based in Irving, Texas it is
 a division of AMN Healthcare (NYSE:   AHS), the largest health care staffing
 firm in the United States.

SOURCE Physicians Practice