The Medicus Firm conducted its 13th annual Physician Practice Preference and Relocation Survey in April 2016. Respondents answered 20 questions via a secure, anonymous survey application, a link to which was sent directly to qualified participants. A total of 2,413 providers representing more than 21 specialties and 50 states completed the survey, which included physicians in practice and in training, as well as advanced practice clinicians (NPs and PAs).
“We appreciate physicians sharing their ideas and concerns with us for this annual survey,” states Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm. “We enjoy providing insight to the practice preferences and concerns of physicians and advanced practice clinicians, to hopefully assist administrators, recruiters, and other decision makers to develop effective search and interview strategies.”
Trends in Physician Practice Preferences and Practice Concerns:
The southeast region remains the most desired region, (23.5%), but the Pacific (CA, NV, HI) took second place this year (14%), pushing Northeast/New England to third, to tie with Mid-Atlantic, at 12% each.
Single-specialty group, the top choice of practice setting, grew further in popularity, to 34%, from 28% favorite last year. Hospital Employment repeated its second place run at 20%, a slight decrease from last year’s 23% popularity.
Nearly 20% of respondents plan to make a career change within 12 months. About eight percent are “definitely” leaving, and another ten percent are “most likely” making a career change. Only 27% indicated they are definitely NOT making a career move this year, which is down from previous years (34% last year, and 43% the previous year definitively ruled out a job change).
Physicians’ approval rating of the Affordable Care Act declined for the first time in several years, and the decline was fairly substantial. Only 71% of respondents gave the ACA a passing grade this year (A, B, C, or D), as compared to 83% last year, and 77% in 2014. Fewer than 3% of respondents awarded the ACA with an “A”.
Doctors are slightly more satisfied with their 2015 income. About 29% were neutral or unsure, 36.7% were satisfied, and 34.1% were dissatisfied. However, they are less optimistic about future income growth. Last year, 39% of respondents projected income growth over the previous year. This year, about 29% project that their income with increase in 2016, compared to 2015.
Approximately 29.6% of physicians project an increase in their 2016 income, as compared to what they earned in 2015. This is a less optimistic reply than last year’s, when 39% of physicians projected an increase in their 2015 income, over 2014.
“It’s also interesting to note that the two greatest practice concerns were compensation (declining reimbursements) and work/life balance,” Stone adds. More than 70% of residents and fellows selected “Work/Life Balance” as one of their top two practice concerns, and 45% of practicing physicians did. The third most significant practice concern was “Work-Related Burnout and Stress,” which was selected as a top-two concern by about 25% of both groups – practicing physicians, and those in training, too.
New questions in this year’s survey revolve around the growing trend of employing physicians. Last year, over 90% of all physicians placed by clients of The Medicus Firm were hired as employees, and 60% of this year’s survey respondents are employed by a hospital or health facility. How does being employed impact physician career satisfaction, as opposed to being a partner or owner in one’s own private practice? Most physicians feel that being an employee negatively impacts their compensation, and their career satisfaction, with 55.8% and 42.6% respectively indicating as such.
To obtain a copy of the 2016 physician survey, please contact your representative. For media inquiries, executive interviews, speaking engagements, or a media copy of the survey, please contact Andrea Clement Santiago, asantiago@TheMedicusFirm.com.