Monday, March 28, 2011

NEJM: Physician Shortages in the Specialties Taking a Toll

The physician shortage has not been lacking in recent press, particularly with the impending changes healthcare reform promises to contribute to the current shortage. Although most of the press has targeted the primary care shortage, there is a shortage in specialists and surgeons as well. The aging population and retirement of the baby boomers is one factor that will contribute to the increase in specialists, particularly those that specialize in older adult care. Some of the obvious specialties that care for older adults are Cardiology, Critical Care, Diagnostic Radiology, Oncology, and Orthopedic Surgery. Shortages in Dermatology, General Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Urology, and Vascular Surgery are also predicted to increase in demand and therefore shortage. There is also a significant shortage amongst pediatric physicians in nearly all specialties. The shortage of specialists has translated to more competitive employment offers, particularly in underserved areas. In its June 2010 report on non-primary care specialty shortages, AAMCs Center for Workforce Studies ventured a dire prediction for the decade ahead: a current deficit of 33% in surgical specialties, and an undersupply of 33,100 surgeons and other specialists by 2015, increasing to 46,100 by 2020. In addition, one third of U.S. practicing physicians are expected to retire over the next decade. Suggestions for how to address the specialty shortage range from training incentives to early medical students to government assistance. Read the full article in the New England Journal of Medicine, or click here:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Physician Shortage to Quadruple within Decade

According to an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the physician shortage we are currently experiencing will be nothing compared to what the future holds.

From the AAMC report, U.S. specialties will reach a shortage of 91,500 doctors by 2020. The AAMC predicts Americans will need an estimated 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists, a higher estimate than other studies have previously reported.

The most affected areas will likely to be rural regions and inner-city areas, according to the report. Factors contributing to the increase in the physician shortage include physicians retiring, the aging population of the American public, and healthcare reform. According to the Census Bureau, the senior population is estimated to grow by 37%.

There are currently 709,700 physicians (in all specialties) for a demand of 723,400 physicians, with an existing shortage of 13,700. By comparison, in 2020, there will be 759,800 physicians (in all specialties) for a demand of 851,300 physicians, essentially a shortage of 91,500 too few doctors.

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine, or click here:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Increase in Academic Physician Compensation

According to a new report from the Medical Group Management Association there has been an increase in academic physician compensation in 2009 and 2010.

Typically the motivation to be an academic physician is based more on professional fulfillment and self actualization than monetary remuneration. However it's important for academic facilities to stay competitive in the marketplace.

In addition to contributing to the next generation of medicine, academic facilities also offer physicians a stable working environment with set pay and full benefits where they can also continue their training.

Read the full article at FierceHealthcare, or click here:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Increase in Permanent and Locums Physician Jobs

In a recent survey by Staff Care, there has been a documented increase in the number of physician jobs. Because many of these permanent positions are difficult to fill, there has also been a significant increase in utilizing locums physicians.

There has been a lot of media attention on the physician shortage; however this continued increase in physician jobs can also be attributed to an economic recovery. There is an increase in the lack of physicians to fulfill the number of openings.

The physician shortage is mostly in primary care, however many specialists and surgeons are also in short supply. Utilizing locums has allowed hospitals to continue consistent patient care, behavioral health physicians were the largest specialty utilized for locums with primary care coming in second.

Physicians are favoring locums positions over permanent positions for several reasons including earning extra income, having more flexibility and a better quality of life, or to fill in gaps from other commitments such as military or even employed positions.

Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Job Offer Incentives for Physician Candidates

This article in Med Center Today was written primarily for academic physician candidates, however the checklist can also be used by physician candidates seeking hospital employment and even private practice opportunities.

There are many other important factors other than salary to consider when reviewing a contract, many of these negotiable.

Standard incentives offered in most contracts include sign-on, relocation, salary or income guarantee, and support. However other factors some candidates don't think of in the negotiation process are loan repayment assistance (particularly for new graduates), additional support, education for the candidate's children, assistance for spousal employment, and housing assistance in either selling a previous house or in buying a new house.

It's important to consider an offer in it's entirety to see not only how much you will be paid but also what other factors can contribute to both your clinical practice and family/ quality of life. Salary and income aren't the only negotiations to consider in a potential offer.

Read the full article at Med Center Today, or click here: