Thursday, January 20, 2011

Survey: Two-Thirds of Doctors Fear or Oppose Health Reform Law

I am big on objective doctor surveys. They tend to reveal how doctors really think about health reform.

I have often quoted two Physician Foundation surveys, conducted by Merritt Hawkins, the big physician recruiting firm, one of 300,000 primary care physicians and the other 0f 40,000 doctors across all specialties. Both of these Foundation surveys indicate physician discontent, among 60% to 70% of physicians, towards the current state of medical practice, and a similar percentage reflecting physician opposition towards health reform measures in the Accountable Care Act.

Now I would like to cite another survey, this one by Thomson Reuters, the huge media conglomerate, of 2958 physicians. Here is how physicians responded to their survey.

• When asked where mostly newly insured would get care, 55% said nurse practitioners or physician assistants.

• 57% predicted reform changes would be negative, 27% were positive, and 15% were neutral.

• Of electronic medical records, 37% said EHRs would help, 37% were neutral, and 24% said EHRs would harm.

• When asked about the quality of health care in the U.S. over the next five years, 65 percent of the doctors believed it would deteriorate with only 18 percent predicting it would improve.

The Thomson Reuters surveyors concluded: “ Our present survey suggests that greater attention should be paid to understand the present opinions of the health care provider constituency before proceeding down the path of reform. Without physicians supporting change, it will be difficult to accomplish.”

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