Access to Care: TMA 2010 Physician Survey

Key Observations and Conclusions

  • There continues to be an alarmingly low number of physicians who will accept all Medicaid patients (42%) with access further threatened by proposed cuts to Medicaid fees.
  • Fortunately, Medicare access has not been further damaged by the ongoing failure to resolve the sustainable growth rate formula.  The percentage of physicians who report accepting all Medicare patients is 66%, statistically not changed from 2008, but significantly less than the 78% of physicians who reported accepting all Medicare patients in 2000.
  • In response to the ongoing problems with the Medicare fee schedule, approximately half of physicians are considering renegotiating or terminating some health plan contracts, changing their status to Medicare non-participating, or formally opting out of Medicare and requiring direct patient payment.
  • In response to potential cuts in Medicaid fees, physicians will impose new or additional limits on existing Medicaid patients, accept no new Medicaid patients, reduce charity care, delay information technology implementation, renegotiate or terminate some health plan contracts, terminate existing Medicaid patients, reduce staff benefits and/or wages, or increase standard fees to other patients.

Every two years, the Texas Medical Association conducts a survey of Texas physicians, to identify emerging issues, track the impact of practice and economic changes, assess physician priorities, and develop data to support TMA advocacy efforts.

For 2010, the survey was broken down into small pieces e-mailed each month.  This year students, residents, and interns were surveyed as well as Texas physicians.  This preliminary report includes results from the first 976 respondents to complete the March survey.  The following are physicians' responses regarding access to care.

For more findings read the complete survey (PDF).

TMA Survey Results