Merritt Hawkins conducted an online survey for The Physicians Foundation of almost 13,600 doctors. The number of respondents may be large enough to give some validity to the results, but online surveys are obviously self-selecting in who responds. (Survey) Still, the survey gives a clear picture of the very deep disillusionment regarding the American health care system among physicians. Over three-fourths are somewhat or very pessimistic about the future of the medical profession and 84% think the profession is in decline. Almost 60% would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people and one-third would pick a different occupation if they had it to do over again. Doctors are working about 6% fewer hours than in 2008, exacerbating access issues, and see almost 17% fewer patients per day than in 2008. They say they spend 22% of their time on administrative matters.
Younger, female, employed and primary care doctors tend to be more positive than their counterparts. Over 50% have limited the access Medicare patients have to their practices or plan to do so and 26% have closed their practices to Medicaid beneficiaries. In the next 1-3 years, over half say they will cut back on patients, work part-time, change to concierge medicine, retire or otherwise change how they serve patients. Almost 60% say the reform law has made them less positive about the future of American health care and 82% feel they have little ability to affect the health system. In regard to accountable care organizations, 62% said they will not increase quality or lower costs, which may help explain why so few are involved or plan to be involved in ACOs. They are not quite as negative on the value of medical homes, but not particularly positive either. All-in-all, a dim view of the state of health care from doctors.