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Survey finds general internists leave practice sooner than subspecialists
Date:5/7/2010

icians originally certified by ABIM in general internal medicine or an internal medicine subspecialty from 1990 to 1995.

Existing research reviewed by the authors suggests that general internists may be particularly discontent and more likely to leave internal medicine due to a widening income gap between primary care physicians and many specialists, increasing demands, growing expectations and accountability for providing high quality care, and payment based on the ability to perform in a challenging environment.

Although research finds that dissatisfied doctors are particularly likely to leave medicine, the authors were not able to find conclusive evidence that the general internists they studied left internal medicine in greater proportion than subspecialists for this reason.

"A more likely explanation," said co-author Rebecca Lipner, Vice President of Psychometrics and Research Analysis, ABIM, "is that the 'general' nature of general internal medicine may give internists more options for careers outside of internal medicine and in to some non-medical fields."

Increasing support for primary care training programs, increasing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to primary care physicians, and expanding pilot testing and implementation of patient-centered medical homes are ways to increase and maintain the number general internists and other primary care physicians, according to ACP.

"A sizeable minority of internists -- 40 percent -- who have left medicine are open to returning," said Bylsma. "Changes in the practice environment might entice them back to primary care."


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Contact: Steve Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
215-351-2514
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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