According to a study published by The Physicians Foundation, physicians under the age of 40 exhibit considerable pessimism regarding the future of the U.S. healthcare system. Well over half (57%) said they are pessimistic about the future of the U.S. healthcare system in general, with 49% responding that they believe the Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on their practice. The majority of the physicians polled blame increased government involvement and intensifying regulatory scrutiny for their poor outlook.
One respondent stated, “I do not feel optimistic because of all the increased regulatory burdens on physicians. There will be an increased shortage of physicians to provide primary care and decreased access to care.” Respondents cited declining reimbursement and increasing costs as other major factors contributing to their sour outlook. Along the same lines, respondents referred to financial-related considerations as the major factors influencing their choice of practice/arrangement.
In fact, among the 27% who changed (or considered changing) their practice/arrangement in the past year, the leading reason given related to “financial issues.” It would behoove physicians who are looking to minimize regulatory burden to consider a locum tenens career. Locums are free from a lot of the headaches associated with increased government scrutiny because they don’t bill Medicare and therefore don’t need to worry about government auditors.
And because locum tenens physicians are independent contractors, they are free from office politics and bureaucracy, allowing them to focus on patient care. A locum tenens career is also a good option for physicians who are concerned about reduced reimbursement and increased cost, as well as. Locum tenens physicians are paid competitive rates that often surpass traditional arrangements. This could be enticing to the 24% of respondents who ranked “Income/cash flow” as the top factor considered when deciding on their current position.