Half of physicians ages 50 to 65 plan to stop seeing patients or significantly reduce the number of patients they see in the next one to three years, according to a new survey by Merritt, Hawkins & Associates.
Of more than 225,000 physicians in this age group, 8% plan to retire in the next one to three years, 10% plan to seek non-patient care medical positions, 3% plan to seek jobs outside of medicine, 6% plan to work on a temporary basis, 17% plan to close their practices to new patients or significantly reduce their workloads, and 7% plan to seek other nonclinical career alternatives, the survey finds.
The survey, released Wednesday, also finds that 64% of physicians 50 to 56 indicate that doctors coming out of training today are less dedicated and hard-working than the newly minted physicians of 20 to 30 years ago.
"Traditionally, physicians in their 50s and early 60s have been the workhorses of medicine," notes Joseph Hawkins, CEO of Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "If these physicians stop seeing patients, millions of patient visits will have to be absorbed by an already limited number of doctors."
For a copy of the survey, go to www.merritthawkins.com.