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Friday, March 19, 2010

Surveys show healthcare professionals concerned over bill, ready to quit

Two surveys of healthcare professionals paint an alarming picture of significant discontent and concern about the healthcare bill about to be voted on by Congress.
The take-away message from both surveys: The healthcare bill threatens the careers of physicians and politicians alike.
Medicus Survey
Reported on the New England Journal of Medicine's Recruiting Physicians Today web site is a link to a survey by The Medicus Firm. The article on that survey, entitled, "Health Reform May Lead to Significant Reduction in Physician Workforce," found that...
...health reform could be the proverbial “last straw” for physicians who are already demoralized, overloaded, and discouraged by multiple issues, combining to form the perfect storm of high malpractice insurance costs, decreasing reimbursements, increasing student loan debt, and more.
An overwhelming 63 percent of physicians prefer a more gradual, targeted approach to health reform, as opposed to one sweeping overhaul. Primary care, which is already experiencing significant shortages by many accounts, could stand to be the most affected, based on the survey.
About 25 percent of respondents were primary care physicians (defined as internal medicine and family medicine in this case), and of those, 46 percent indicated that they would leave medicine — or try to leave medicine — as a result of health reform.
Why would physicians want to leave medicine in the wake of health reform? The survey results, as seen in Market Watch, indicate that many physicians worry that reform could result in a significant decline in the overall quality of medical care nationwide
Survey notes: The Medicus Survey was conducted with 1,000 physicians on December 17, 2009. The Medicus Firm is a national physician search firm based in Dallas and Atlanta.
Freedom2Care Survey
Healthcare professionals responding to a new Freedom2Care survey expressed overwhelming concern about abortion and conscience issues in the healthcare overhaul bill before Congress, and they strongly oppose more government involvement in health care.
Participating in an online Freedom2Care survey March 17-19 that drew 2,151 responses, 98 percent of healthcare professionals said they were "very concerned" about government funding of abortion in the legislation. Ninety-six percent noted they were "very concerned" about the lack of conscience protections in the bill. Eighty-three percent of healthcare professional respondents "strongly oppose more government involvement in healthcare," and an additional 11 percent "somewhat oppose more government involvement."
The statement, "Congress should reject this legislation, start over and work on new legislation this year" drew approval from 51 percent of healthcare professionals, and an additional 41 percent agreed that "Congress should reject this legislation and stop working on healthcare legislation this year."
In terms of political implications, 93 percent of healthcare professionals  agreed with the statement, "A 'Yes' vote on this legislation would make me much less likely to vote for my Representative." Besides voting against a pro-bill legislator, healthcare professionals are also going the extra mile politically: over three fourths, or 77 percent, say they have already contacted their U.S. Representative about the bill.
Healthcare professionals represented over a fourth, or 26 percent, of all survey respondents.
Survey notes: The survey is not a random sampling of Americans; many of the survey participants have taken action on conscience rights through the Freedom2Care web site.

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