Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine Examines Physician Discontent in Medical Profession
The cover story of the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine examined the increased discontent among physicians as "spiraling costs, untold waste and a troubling rate of error" in the U.S. health care system have led them to "a historical fault line when their prestige, privilege and pay are beginning to crumble." In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of physicians conducted last year, about 90% of respondents said that morale in the medical profession had decreased in the previous five years, and about 50% said that they would not recommend the profession as a career. Medical malpractice insurance premiums have increased about 50% for physicians in each of the past two years, but reimbursements from the government and private health insurers have remained the same. Physicians also have lost autonomy as health insurers establish productivity requirements and "tell them how to practice, whom to test and what drugs to prescribe," the Inquirer reports. Fewer than 50% of physicians who responded to the Kaiser survey said that they had the authority to make "clinical decisions that were best for their patients," and more than 75% said that managed care had "hurt their ability to tailor treatment to patients' circumstances," the Inquirer reports. Most survey respondents said that managed care had increased their paperwork, and 75% said that the increased paperwork had reduced the amount of time that they spend with patients (Stark/Gammage, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.