America’s doctors are debating a serious issue — the possibility of going out of business.
Doctors, especially those operating private practices, said their financial hardship is increasing, making it “harder for them to earn a decent living,” according to a new survey of 673 physicians across 29 specialties by MDLinx, a medical reference website for physicians.
Among the reasons doctors cited: significant school debt, rising business expenses and administrative hassles, shrinking insurance reimbursements and costly malpractice insurance.
The survey revealed that doctors operating private practices — both small and large — are feeling more financial pain than those employed by hospitals, said Stephen Smith, chief marketing officer for MDLinx, to CNN.
In fact, 17% of all doctors with a private practice said they could foresee closing it within a year if their financial situation doesn’t improve, the survey said.
“For consumers, the coming retraction from small practices to large clinics that this survey hints at would mean longer drives and less personal, higher cost of medical care for millions of Americans,” said Smith.
The survey also revealed a marked disparity on physicians’ financial situation and morale tied to the size of their current work environment.
While a third of smaller practice physicians forecast that 2012 will be one of their worst earnings years ever, Smith said only 13% of doctors at larger practices or hospitals reported the same expectation.