Docs aren't happy, and if docs aren't happy …

U.S. doctors seem to be fed up. Within the next three years, a new survey shows, almost half are considering cutting back on patients or simply halting their practice. Already, more than three-quarters say, there’s a shortage of primary care doctors.

The responses from 12,000 U.S. physicians indicate they’re spending more time on paperwork, which is  causing them to spend less time with patients. Frustration has ensued. Declining reimbursement rates are another problem, with some doctors saying they could eventually close their doors if proposed Medicare cuts become real.

The survey was released by the Physicians’ Foundation, whose website says it seeks “to advance the work of practicing physicians and to improve the quality of health care for all Americans.” Of course, disgruntled docs may be more likely to respond to such a survey than their more sanguine colleagues,  but the issues cited in the survey are well established.

The American Medical Assn. is now trying to combat the primary care physician shortage, for example.

Says the blog Kevin, M.D.:

“Those that think the mid-level providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants can pick up the slack are sadly mistaken, since these providers see the writing on the wall and want no part of the primary care morass. They’re not stupid.”

Adds the blog GruntDoc, in reference to the 49% of physicians who are considering cutting back:

“Just half?”

Here’s the full report. And the key findings.

— Tami Dennis

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