A new study has found that nearly nine in ten doctors believe that “barriers set by insurance plans have led to worsened conditions for patients in need of care”1 and they are getting fed up enough to leave medicine altogether.
“Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.”1
Polling 600 physicians in the U.S. who were either practicing family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology, the organization wanted to understand:1
- the extent to which insurance policies impact primary care physicians, their practices, and their patients on a day-to-day basis
- to better understand mental health issues among providers
- the causes behind the national provider shortage
Researchers found that physicians don’t think highly of health insurance companies and believe they’re putting patients at risk with some of their policies:1
- 37% percent say half or more of their daily stress is caused by insurance issues
- 65% feel they’re facing greater legal risks because of decisions made by insurers
- 85% are left frustrated by such issues (and many admitted to taking their anger and emotions out on their staff and even family members)
- 77% of doctors had to hire more staffers to handle the heavier administrative load from insurance work
- 99% reported having less time to spend with patients because of the burden
And the policies they’d most like to see changed were:1
- 55% didn’t like the insurers’ ability to override the professional judgment of physicians
- and 87% of respondents felt that insurer personnel interfere with their ability to provide individualized treatments for each patient
Dr. Shannon Ginnan, medical director of Aimed Alliance said, “I can understand why many of the respondents reported that they would not recommend this career to anyone else. As practitioners, much of our time is spent on burdensome paperwork required from health insurers for our services to be paid for. This prevents us from spending as much time on patient care as we would like, and it doesn’t take much for all this paperwork to interfere with the services that we provide.”1
I wonder how many doctors are also tired of constantly having new drugs pushed on them? Perhaps if the insurance woes and the constant drug pushing weren’t such an issue, physicians would have the time to listen. And then they might even discover that a lot of the issues their patients are having are based on problems they can fix without drugs.
What if we could completely rehaul our medical system so that physicians had the time and training and authority to listen and actually help patients, rather then hastily rush them out with a prescription?
- NBC: Some doctors helping parents get medical exemptions
Many doctors surveyed also believe that insurers are contributing to the rising cost of healthcare- more than pharmaceutical companies, government policies, lawsuits, or hospitals.
Aimed Alliance hopes this study will give lawmakers the data they need to reform health care laws and regulations related to utilization management and provider shortages.