Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hospital and Healthcare Administrators More Optimistic Than Doctors about Obamacare

It is difference of opinion that makes horse races.

Mark Twain (1835-1910),  Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calender

Merritt Hawkins and Associates have just released a survey indicating healthcare administrators are more upbeat about their choice of careers than doctors.

This is no doubt true when it comes to Obamacare.   The healthcare law favors healthcare organizations over individual physician practices. 
That’s why the health law advocates Accountable Care Organizations, why they would like to see bundled bills replace fee-for-service, why the favor the federal expansion of Medicaid. After all, Obamacare basically offers government subsidies of at least 30 million Medicaid and other underserved and underinsured populations.  
 Better to be paid by gvovenment for these people, than privately swallow the loss. Besides, it’s much easier for government and administrators to track and “hold accountable” large healthcare organizations than individuals or small groups.  

To cope with Affordable Care Act regulations requires application of administrative, capital, marketing, and technological resources.   This reality plays to the administrators’ strengths.  This is something they were trained to do.  Not so for physicians, who were trained to deal with one-on-one relationships with patients and with other doctors.   How physicians will deal with their new subservience to or partnerships with  administrators in now in the process of evolving.

In any event, here’s what Merritt Hawkins has to say about different points of view of administrators and physicians.

‘It has been accepted wisdom in healthcare for some time now that hospital and other healthcare facility administrators and physicians look at things through very different lenses.”

“A new survey Merritt Hawkins completed on behalf of Trinity University’s Department of Healthcare Administration indicates that even in an era of physician/hospital alignment, that may not have changed.”

“The survey examines the morale and professional perspectives of over 400 alumni of Trinity University’s nationally prominent Master’s in Health Care Administration Program who now are in leadership roles in hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare facilities around the country. In general, the survey found that morale and optimism among these leaders is high, even given the current challenges facing virtually all types of healthcare facilities.”

“Over 92% of survey respondents feel positively about being in healthcare administration today, over 87% described their morale as positive, 87% would recommend healthcare management as a career to young people, and 86% would select healthcare management if they had their careers to do over.”

‘These findings contrast sharply with a national survey of physicians Merritt Hawkins recently conducted on behalf of The Physicians Foundation. In this survey, only 32% of physicians felt positively about the medical profession, only 42% described their morale as positive, only 42% would recommend medicine as a career to young people, and only 66% would choose medicine if they had their careers to do over.”

“For healthcare facility managers, the glass appears to be half full, while for physicians, it appears to be half empty. Though the survey report outlines some reasons why this may be so, I would be interested in hearing what others think may be the cause for these contrasting view. Those who would like a complete copy of survey results are welcome to email me at”

Travis Singleton is Senior Vice President of Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s leading physician search and consulting firm and a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AHS). He can be reached at 800-876-0500 or

Tweet:  Hospital and healthcare administrators are much more optimistic (92% positive) than physicians (32% positive about their profession and the future.



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