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“Would not advise children or grandchildren to go into medicine”

View Executive Summary | View Survey Results (data)

Physicians are increasingly pessimistic about the future of medicine, and are now reluctant to advise their own children or grandchildren to pursue a career in the field.

Those are just two of the alarming findings in the new poll of physicians conducted by the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation(DPMAF) by fax from October 13/11 through 10/20/11 to gauge their attitudes toward the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and medical freedom issues.

“We expected some frustration, but the numbers are stunning,” said Kathryn Serkes, President of DPMA. “Doctors are clear that they are reluctant to accept many aspects of the PPACA, and the net result will be fewer doctors at a time that we need more.”

One of most telling results is that less than 20% of doctors polled would advise their child or grandchild to go to medical school. “For many doctors, medicine has been a long-time family tradition. This could be the first generation that breaks that pattern,” said Serkes. “It’s a clear red-flag that we’re in trouble when the people on the frontlines don’t want their own family going into medicine.”

Physicians are also clear that they believe that the PPACA will reduce the quality of care for their patients (78.7%) and that it is the single factor that has made them more pessimistic about the future of medicine (74.8%).

Ohio’s Ballot Initiative 3 has overwhelming support from Ohio doctors (78.3%) as voters head to the polls next week to decided whether to approve the amendment to that state’s constitution to safeguard residents from being forced into participating in a government-run healthcare system.

And that apparent opposition to an individual insurance mandate is not limited to Ohio, as 85.4% say they believe that citizens should not be mandated by the government to purchase healthcare.

The poll also demonstrates that one of the key provisions of the PPACA – the huge expansion of Medicaid enrollees -- will probably backfire, as the majority of doctors (54.2%) say they are likely to stop accepting government-care patients since the passage of the PPACA.

“A piece of paper saying you are ‘enrolled’ doesn’t get you a dime’s worth of medical care if there are no doctors around who will treat you,” said Serkes, who adds that the doctors opting out of Medicaid could skyrocket if the 25% who are undecided decide to join their opted out colleagues.

Add to that the 60% who say they are now considering retiring or quitting active care, and the picture worsens. One doctor’s comment reflected the sentiment of many: “Obamacare will lead to a loss of physicians in the US and the unneeded illness/death of patients.”

These aren’t older doctors who are close to retirement age anyway, as the median age of respondents is 26, meaning many fall into the age group of 45 to 55, considered peak years in physician careers.

“Passage of the PPACA seems to have triggered a slow-motion medical disaster as doctors begin bailing out,” said Serkes. The anti-government involvement is so strong that 45.5% say they would rather treat Medicaid and Medicare patients for free, with another 25% saying they are undecided.

Doctors were also given a menu of 11 provisions of the PPACA that have or will impact their practices, including the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the SGR, electronic health record and pay-for-performance measures. The strongest opposition was to the prospect of government rationing of care (88.7%) followed closely by more government regulations and oversight (88.3%).

One doctor commented succinctly: “Government needs to get out of healthcare.”

Other key findings include:

  • 78.8% say the PPACA does NOT represent their view of what the future of healthcare should be;
  • 82.1% believe the PPACA will give physicians LESS freedom and power to care for their patients;
  • 60.2% oppose the Independent Physician Advisory Board
  • 65.6% would be more willing to treat Medicare patients if they were allowed to engage in private contracts with some of those patients instead of the mandate to file a claim;


”These numbers do not bode well for the PPACA, but they are encouraging for patients,” said Serkes. “They show that doctors are clearly lined up on the side of the patients in favor of autonomy, freedom and quality individual care. They aren’t ready to accept cookie-cutter medicine yet.”

Executive Summary:

Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation surveyed Ohio Doctors to measure attitudes towards the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), medical freedom issues, and the Ohio Ballot Initiative 3 Health Freedom Amendment.

Results of the poll show that pessimism about the future of medicine has increased since passage of the PPACA (74.8%), and they are negative in the perception about the impact of the PPACA on quality and access to care. 

Of several provisions of the PPACA, physicians express the most concern about government rationing of care (88.7%), followed closely by increased government regulation and oversight (88.3%).   Reimbursement rates were much less of a concern, ranking 7th, 9th and 10th out of 13 possible answers.

Physicians report that they are likely to refuse patients enrolled in government programs, to retire or quit, and are no longer willing to recommend medical school as a career path, most likely resulting in a severe physician shortage for those eligible for PPACA-mandated government programs.

The survey was in the field between October 13th and October 20th, 2011.  It was faxed to random Ohio doctors with 133 completed surveys for a response rate of approximately 2.9%.  The median number of years in practice is 26.

Click here to view the survey results...

2012survery results callout