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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Jan. 20, 2009
CSMS Issues Physician Workforce Survey Report

A report polling Connecticut physician perceptions about their careers and practices and exploring their impact on patient access to medical care was issued by the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS).

What emerged from the research is a snapshot of a health system in deterioration which could be affecting citizens’ access to medically necessary care.

"For years, we’ve been sharing stories of physicians leaving Connecticut or retiring early, but until now, we have not had any valid research to prove it," said CSMS Immediate Past President Dr. Angelo S. Carrabba. "We conducted this survey and put it through the rigors of peer review because we need decision-makers and policy-makers to have a statistically valid picture when they discuss reforming Connecticut’s healthcare system."

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut provided financial support for the study, which polled 1,077 physicians in 17 specialty areas.

The results show that 19 percent of responding physicians are contemplating a career change and 10 percent plan to leave the state because of Connecticut’s practice environment. At the same time, 47 percent of physicians reported increasing their hours while new patients wait an average of 17 days for an office visit statewide and longer in Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven and Windham counties. Overall, 38 percent of physicians said they have cut back on high-risk procedures they perform.

The challenges in Connecticut’s practice environment include professional liability rates, and the administrative requirements of medicine tied to managed care constraints. The physicians surveyed were less than "somewhat likely" to recommend a colleague practice in our state. Not surprisingly, it is taking months and even years to recruit new physicians in specialties such as urology, orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery, the report said.

Overall, 35 percent say it is "very difficult" to recruit new physicians, with those in Litchfield, NewLondon and Windham counties describing the most difficulty.

Connecticut physicians are having trouble obtaining referrals for their patients. In particular, the report said, 90 percent of emergency physicians and 72 percent of pediatricians – those which make a very high frequency of referrals to other doctors – report having more difficulty obtaining referrals over the past three years. Some barriers to making referrals are health plan restrictions, supply of physicians in certain areas, reimbursement rates and malpractice concerns.

The study asked physicians their opinions of various healthcare reform concepts, data that CSMS will make available to lawmakers as they debate and make decisions about changes in the healthcare system. Physician respondents were supportive of creating a large insurance pool to cover the uninsured, those on public insurance programs and others; and of expanding current safety-net programs. Physicians were equally divided in the support of, or opposition to, a single-payor program to cover all Connecticut residents. Their responses suggest that Connecticut physicians feel that some sort of system reform is necessary, though its ultimate form is not yet clear.

The report was published in the journal Connecticut Medicine.

Address: Connecticut States Medical Society, 160 Ronan St., New Haven, CT 06511; (203) 865-0587,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Physician Organizations

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