Physicians Losing Control of Medicine, New Jackson Survey Reports

PHYSICIANS LOSING CONTROL OF MEDICINE

NEW SURVEY REPORTS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AS PRIMARY REASON

Alpharetta, GA (November 5, 2009) - A survey released today from Jackson Healthcare reports that the majority of physicians surveyed (74 percent) feel they have less control over the way they practice medicine than they did five years ago.

According to the survey results, the cause is a combination of the threat of medical malpractice litigation, as well as insurance and government interference.  However, 85 percent said the threat of medical malpractice litigation is their primary hindrance to practicing medicine as they see fit.

"We found that regardless of a physician's political affiliation, the respondents attributed the practice of defensive medicine to excessive waste in the healthcare system," reported Rick Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare.

Jackson found that 62 percent of physicians disagreed with the American Medical Association's (AMA) stance on healthcare reform.  Of those, 46 percent said they "strongly disagree" with the AMA's stance.

When asked which piece of existing legislation they most support, 44 percent selected HR 3400, 15 percent selected HR 3200, 7 percent selected the Senate Finance Committee bill and 19 percent supported none of these plans.

Although no piece of existing legislation "very strongly" represented physician views, a large majority of respondents agreed that the number one element to be included in any piece of healthcare legislation is tort reform, which was selected by 92 percent of the physicians Jackson interviewed.

Other key elements physicians want included in legislation:

  • Private insurance industry reform, including the elimination of pre-existing condition refusals, the elimination of dropped coverage (except in instances of fraud) and portability (78 percent)
  • Allow professional, trade and industry associations, including Chambers of Commerce, to provide healthcare insurance to member groups (67 percent)
  • Allow individuals to opt-out of Medicare or their employer-sponsored plan, and provide credits for them to purchase a plan on the individual market (61 percent)
  • Create an insurance exchange that provides competition on health insurance plans (54 percent)

Of the 17 healthcare reform elements offered to respondents, a public option ranked eleventh with 32 percent of physicians selecting it.  A single payor insurance system ranked fourteenth, with 22 percent selecting it.

"What's interesting is that the majority of physicians surveyed are in favor of healthcare reform," said Jackson.  "We found that many believe their voice is not being heard and the issues most important to many physicians are not a high priority in the current debate and reform efforts."

 

SURVEY METHODOLOGY-Between September 23 and October 18, 2009, Jackson Healthcare conducted a web-based survey of 1,978 physicians spanning all 50 states and all major medical and surgical specialties.  Jackson had a response rate of 1.71 percent from the 110,328 invitations distributed.  The survey has an error range of +/- 1.42 percent, at the 95 percent confidence level.