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Survey: Many Older Physicians Plan to Opt Out of Patient Care
Date:10/15/2007

Most Would Not Recommend Medicine As A Career

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- In the next one to three years, 48 percent of physicians between the ages of 50 and 65 are planning to retire, seek non-clinical jobs, work part-time, close their practices to new patients, and/or significantly reduce the number of patients they see, a new survey indicates. The survey, conducted by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a national physician search and consulting firm based in Irving, Texas, suggests that many experienced physicians are seeking a way out of traditional patient care roles.

"When Baby Boom doctors entered medicine they had control over how they practiced and the fees they charged," notes Mark Smith, executive vice president of Merritt Hawkins & Associates. "But the rules changed on them in mid-stream and now many are looking for a ticket out."

The survey indicates that 24 percent of older physicians plan to opt out of patient care in the next one to three years. Fourteen percent of these physicians said they plan to retire in the next one to three years, seven percent said they plan to seek a medical job in a non-patient care setting, and three percent said they plan to pursue a business or job in a non-medical field.

The survey also indicates that many older doctors, while staying in patient care roles, plan to reduce the number of patients they see in the next one to three years. Twelve percent of physicians surveyed said they would start working part-time in the next one to three years, eight percent said they would either close their practices to new patients or significantly reduce their patient load, and four percent indicated that they plan to work on a temporary basis.

Should older physicians elect to remove themselves from patient care or significantly reduce the number of patients they see, access to physicians would be greatly reduced, according to Smith.

"Almost half the physicians in the United
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SOURCE Merritt Hawkins & Associates
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