Nearly half of all practicing physicians, 49%, said that by 2011 they will have limited their practices or quit entirely, according to survey results released today.
And 45% said if they had the financial means, they would retire today.
Yet 78% of the 11,950 physicians who responded to the survey from The Physicians' Foundation said there is a shortage of primary care physicians in the United States.
The survey, mailed to 270,000 primary care doctors and 50,000 specialists, had a response rate of 3.7%.
Importantly, it was mailed from May through July 2008 -- before the market meltdown and ongoing worldwide financial crisis.
Among other findings of the survey:
- 11% of responders said they plan to retire sometime in the next three years - 13% said they plan to stop clinical practice but want to continue to work in healthcare in a non-clinical capacity - 82% said proposed cuts in Medicare reimbursement would make their practices unsustainable - 66% said Medicaid doesn't pay enough to cover the cost of providing care and 36% said the same of Medicare - 33% said they no longer accept Medicaid patients and 12% said they would not accept Medicare patients - only 17% said their practices were financially healthy and profitable
And this at a time when our senior population is about to put stresses on our health care system that we've never seen before.