Thomson Reuters and HCPlexus released a 2011 Physician Survey of almost 3000 primary care and specialty doctors around the United States. (Reuters Survey) Sixty-five percent believe that health care will deteriorate in the United States in the next five years. Physicians believe that as coverage expands under the reform law, almost as many of the new patients will be treated by nurse practitioners as by doctors and that those professionals some what unfairly get compensated similarly to physicians. Seventy four percent believe that the PPACA will mean they will get less fair reimbursement in the future.
And they find by a 58% to 27% ratio that they reform law will be more negative than positive for patients. Specialists tended to be the most negative and some primary groups a little more positive on the patient impacts of the reforms. In terms of how it would overall affect doctors, the sentiment was overwhelmingly negative, at 78%. Health IT is a big push and doctors are split on the effect of EHRs; 39% think they will be positive, 37% neutral and 24% negative. ACOs are another hot topic, but only about 12% of doctors said they were involved in ACO discussions and an astounding 45% said they didn’t know what they were.
Solo practitioners tended to be the most negative in outlook, but not by much, except that they had a very negative view of EHR impact, probably because of cost. Overall, especially for doctors not in large group practices, physicians seem frustrated, even angry, about the developments in health care and in particular the reform law. This is understandable, given the reimbursement and administrative hassles most of them endure on a daily basis, along with time pressures and trying to keep up with medical developments. Hopefully the frustration doesn’t affect patient care.