Not Just Money

Physician's Money Digest, June15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 11

Journal of Health

Economics

A health care system that has too many doctorsin specialties and not enough primary carephysicians has to look beyond cash as an incentiveto reverse the trend. That's the conclusion of anew study published in the , which points out that newly minteddoctors tend to give greater weight to vacationtime and regular work schedules when choosingtheir specialty. Although the potential for futureearnings did enter into the equation, it was notthe most important factor for new doctors.

According to a model developed by the studyresearchers, offering an additional 3 days of vacationwould result in a much bigger increase in thenumber of new doctors who chose a primary carespecialty than offering a $15,000 raise in pay. Theresearchers also came to the conclusion that providingincentives like extended vacation time andregular work schedules is much more feasible inthe current medical care system because fewerphysicians are choosing solo practice and moredoctors are becoming affiliated with medicalorganizations such as large medical practices ormanaged care groups.