Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doctor shortage - Part-Time Older Doctors and the Doctor Shortage

What - A 2006 survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies indicates two of three doctors over 50 work part time or are interested in doing so.

Why – Older doctors want a balanced life style, but need to work part time to supplement income or to keep their skills and knowledge current. At same time, part-time doctors are needed to ease looming doctor shortage which experts say will be in 85,000 to 200,000 range by 2020.

When - According to James Merritt, Joseph Hawkins, and Philip Miller in Will The Last Physician in America Please Turn Off The Lights (Practice Support Resources, Inc, 2004), the shortage is already upon us.

How - Overwork, hassles, loss of respect, demoralization, declining incomes, and hostility towards health plans and Medicare are causing fewer medical student to choose primary care residencies and more older doctors to retire.

Where – Shortages most intense in primary care and general surgery, in cities of 50,000 or under, and underserved rural areas and in inner cities.

Who – In doctors over 50. 21% already work part time, 22% would like to but can’t because not offered by their practices, 24% are considering part time work, 19% are not interested, and 14% are not interested under any circumstance.

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