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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: June 3, 2008
Part-Time Practice Trends Intensify Physician Shortage, Finds AMGA And Cejka Search

The imbalance in the supply and demand for physicians will continue to intensify as the U.S. population continues to grow faster than the physician workforce.

Added pressure will come with the increasing number of physicians practicing medicine on a part-time basis, as reported in the 2007 Retention Survey from the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and Cejka Search, a nationally recognized physician and healthcare executive search organization.

In the recently released AMGA/Cejka Search survey, responding groups reported an increase in the percentage of physicians practicing part-time from 13 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2007. Males increased from 5 percent to 7 percent; females increased from 8 percent to 12 percent.

The age group with the greatest number of physicians practicing part-time is between 35 and 39; the gender split among part-time physicians in that age group is 15 percent male and 85 percent female.

"Retirement and graduation rates tell only part of the story. Our survey took a closer look inside medical groups, and the result appears to be a rise in the number of physicians, among both genders, practicing part-time," said Carol Westfall, president of Cejka Search.

"The trends reported by AMGA members are accompanied by their insights about how they are implementing retention strategies," said Donald W. Fisher, AMGA’s president and chief executive officer. "They also report clinical models that utilize hospitalists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to continue to improve access and quality care for their patients in a time of shortage."

Since 1980, the U.S. population has increased more than 33 percent, while the number of new doctors graduating from medical school has stayed constant, creating shortages in primary care and other specialties. The changing profile of the typical American medical group will be influenced to a great extent by the retirement of predominantly male, baby boomer physicians and the emergence of the millennial generation workforce, which is equally comprised of male and female physicians.

Key Findings

  • Of the physicians practicing part-time, 83 percent practice more than half of a workweek and 45 percent practice at least three-quarters of a workweek.

  • "Family responsibilities" was the reason given by 69 percent of female physicians and 11 percent of male physicians who practiced part-time. The predominant reasons given by males were "unrelated professional or personal pursuits" (31 percent) and "preparing for retirement" (29 percent).

  • Of respondents, 86 percent reported that they hired hospitalists or engaged with a hospitalist organization in the past year. The likelihood of the group doing so increased with the size of the group and if it was owned by a hospital or an integrated delivery system.

  • The use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners was reported by 79 percent of respondents and was most predominant among medium-sized groups and those owned by integrated delivery systems.

  • Ninety-five percent of respondents believe that mentoring increases retention and 56 percent assign a mentor to newly recruited physicians.

  • Groups who assign mentors are strongly committed to mentoring as a retention strategy, with 83 percent somewhat or very likely to continue the mentor program and 79 percent somewhat or very likely to expand it.

  • The use of mentors is expected to become more widespread, with 62 percent of respondents who reported that they do not assign mentors reporting that they are somewhat or very likely to start.

Addresses: American Medical Group Association, 1422 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 838-0033, Cejka Search Inc., 4 City Place Drive, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141; (314) 726-1603,

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

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