Doctors may be fleeing the healthcare profession like mice leaving a sinking ship!  Where does that leave you?

According to the  2013 survey by Deloitte, as many as 57% of doctors view the Affordable Care Act as threatening and “six in 10 physicians report it’s likely that many will retire earlier than planned in the next two to three years. This trend could cause more widespread issues in the health-care system that is already coping with doctor and nurse shortages in some areas of the country.”  These results are evenly divided among all doctors regardless of gender, medical specialty or age.

More than half of physicians surveyed also fear for the state of medicine itself because the “best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine under new requirements of the reform.”

Then too, the mandate by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for physicians to adopt electronic medical records in their practices is pushing doctors into an early retirement.  Starting 2014, doctors will see declines in Medicare reimbursements for not having records digitalized.  Yet those doctors close to retirement will never be able to recoup the expense that conversion to computer systems will incur.

“Those one and two-person practices with doctors in their late 50s and early 60s may think it’s too daunting of a change and retire early,” according to Marc Mayer, M.D., a family physician in New Jersey. “If they don’t do all of those [required] things, they will be looking at a drop in income.”

Jane Orient, executive director of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, points out that rather than retiring completely, many doctors will convert to a concierge model type or will sell the practice to a hospital group and work for them instead. She also notes that Obamacare will try to save money by “squeezing doctor’s ability to make money”.

“Right now, about 50% of what doctors make goes to overhead costs, she adds, so a 10% cut in fees at doctors’ offices equates to a 20% cut in profits.”

“A lot of our doctors are [concerned about profit loss] and say these threats and cuts are draconian. The requirements are impossible and if you combine that with the fact that a frightening proportion are aged 55 and older, many could retire if they wanted to”.

Results of the survey also showed that greater than 50% of respondents saw a 10% or less decrease in their paycheck in the past year. “Half forecast that physician incomes will fall dramatically in the next one to three years. Sixty-eight percent of solo physicians report being more likely to have their incomes will fall than those in practices with two to nine physicians (51%) or those with more than 10 physicians (44%).”

What has been your observation of the situation in your home town?  Comment in the box below.