your doctor or any doctor might become more difficult for Texas patients, according
to The Physicians Foundation’s 2014 Survey
of America’s Physicians. More than half of Texas doctors (52 percent), plan in
the next three years to cut back on work hours or the number of patients they
see, find another job in health care that doesn’t involve seeing patients, or
findings are significant as nearly half of Texas physicians (49 percent) work
in a private practice — the second-highest number among all states and much higher
than the national average (35 percent).
is causing physicians to make this difficult decision? Physicians today feel overworked
and overburdened by mountains of federal regulations, and dread the looming transition
to a new, complex, and expensive medical billing and coding system. Doctors believe
others are trying to make health care decisions for them and their patients,
and that they have been forced to implement new, expensive electronic health
records systems (EHRs) that many do not believe improve patient care. In
general, they are pessimistic about the state of the medical profession.
love caring for patients — it’s why we get up in the morning — but this survey
reflects the crush of red tape and bureaucracy doctors feel is eating away at
that privilege and turning physicians into office administrators instead of
healers,” said Joseph S. Valenti, MD, The Physicians Foundation board
member and chair of Texas Medical
Association’s Council on Socioeconomics.
tape and administrative hassles
to two-thirds (64 percent) of Texas physicians are “very” or “somewhat”
negative about the current state of the medical profession, compared
with 55 percent nationally. More than three out of four Texas doctors say
they are “overextended and overworked” or “at full capacity.” Part of that time
crunch is due to red tape and bureaucracy, as the survey found nearly one-third
of Texas physicians (30.1 percent) spend as many as 10 hours per week filling
out nonclinical paperwork.
new bean-counting regulations and federal reform
mandates and regulations dictating how doctors provide patient care are not
helping. More than half of Texas physicians (58 percent) say next year’s forced
upgrade to the government’s new billing and coding system, ICD-10, will “create
a severe administration problem.” That is
because ICD-10 will require doctors to use 69,000 diagnostic
codes — up from the current system’s 13,500 codes.
All physicians, hospitals, providers, and insurance companies must shift from
ICD-9 to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2015, but only 8 percent of Texas physicians say the shift will “improve diagnosis
or quality of care.” Many doctors believe ICD-10, 20 years in the making,
boondoggle of a system that will help only health care researchers.
of five Texas doctors report having installed an EHR in their practices, only
one-quarter of them say the EHR has improved their quality of patient care. In fact almost half (49.4 percent) say it
has detracted from practice efficiency, and almost as many (48.7 percent) say it
has detracted from their interaction with patients.
neither ICD-10 nor the new EHR mandates are part of federal health system
reform, most doctors don’t like that either. More than one-third (36.4 percent)
of Texas doctors give the Affordable Care Act an “F” grade.
decisions: Who makes them?
and again physicians say their relationship with their patients and their
ability to make health care decisions without third-party influence are most
important to them. Yet most physicians feel health care decisions are at least
partly taken out of their hands. More than 50 percent of physicians said they
experience “some limitations, my decisions are sometimes compromised.” Add the
doctors who believe “many” of their health care decisions are “often”
compromised, and the total is nearly three out of four Texas doctors (71.1
percent). Just 28.9 percent of doctors believe they have “no limitations, I am
free to make decisions I think are best.”
may be partly why more than half of Texas doctors (56.9 percent) say they would
not recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people.
Still, given the opportunity to do their own career over, more than two-thirds
would choose to be a physician.
are most important
for people inspires doctors. Nearly four of five Texas physicians say
interacting with patients is the most satisfying part of being a doctor.
“Our strength comes from our
patients. We’re nothing without [them],” said Dr. Valenti, a Denton obstetrician-gynecologist.
“[The patient-physician relationship] is the most sacred thing that we have.”
The Physicians Foundation’s 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians is one
of the largest and most comprehensive physician surveys conducted in America.
The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)
organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and help
facilitate the delivery of healthcare to patients. It pursues its mission
through a variety of activities including grant making, research, white papers
and policy studies. Since 2005, The Foundation has awarded numerous multi-year
grants totaling more than $28 million. In addition, The Foundation focuses on
the following core areas: physician leadership, physician practice trends,
physician shortage issues, and the impact of healthcare reform on physicians
and patients. As the healthcare system in America continues to evolve, The
Physicians Foundation is steadfast in its determination to strengthen the
physician-patient relationship and assist physicians in sustaining their
medical practices in a difficult practice environment. For more information,
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation,
representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is
located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the
state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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