Job-hunting Docs

Physician's Money Digest, December15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 23

Show me the money. That's whatmost job-hunting physicians are lookingfor, according to executives atPinnacle Health Group (www.phg.com),an Atlanta-based physician-recruitmentfirm. For many doctors, managed careis the culprit. Doctors perceive thatthey're working longer hours and earningless money, primarily because oflower reimbursements.

That, paperwork headaches, andclaims denials for trivial reasons is leadingdoctors to seek more pleasant pastures.Other factors that push physiciansinto a search for a new job include soaringmedical malpractice premiums, adesire for a change of practice type, anda better quality of life. Malpractice premiums,which have been a major issue instates like Pennsylvania and West Virginiafor several years, have become aleading cause of physician discontent inmany other states over the past fewyears. Doctors in specialties that are at ahigh risk for malpractice claims (eg,OB/GYN doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists) are fleeing states likeMississippi, Florida, Nevada, and NewJersey, or are retiring rather than payingheavy premium increases.

As far as practice environment is concerned,there has been a trend reversal,with doctors now looking to get out ofbig, multispecialty groups and intosmaller, single-specialty groups. The rationaleis that smaller groups may have amore equitable formula for allocatingoverhead charges than large group settings,which some doctors think overchargefor these costs. As for quality oflife, doctors in large metropolitan areasare looking for more rural localesbecause they believe these areas are saferand less costly for raising children. Also,managed care is less prevalent in ruralareas than in big cities.