|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
"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
"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
- 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
- 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
- Ninety-five percent of respondents believe that
mentoring increases retention and 56 percent assign a mentor to newly
- 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
Addresses: American Medical Group Association, 1422 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 838-0033, www.amga.org. Cejka Search Inc., 4 City Place Drive, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141; (314) 726-1603, www.cejkasearch.com.