Primary care physicians plagued by poor financial health

At a time when more Americans will be seeking primary care, the doctors who provide that care are feeling financially burdened. See whether your experience matches those responding to a recent poll.

Twenty-six percent of primary care physicians (PCPs) report poor financial health in the most recent Physician Wellbeing Index by online community QuantiaMD.

Of them:

81% of physician practice owners report that their profits are lower than they were last year, and 43% say they are having trouble covering their costs.

80% cite a decrease in reimbursements as the top negative financial effect on their practices, and 71% said it is an increase in operating costs.

49% of employed PCPs say they have not had a salary increase in 1 to 2 years, and 18% say their salary has been reduced.

“The financial struggles of a number of PCPs is disturbing news,” says Richard Roberts, MD, JD, president of the World Organization of Family Doctors and past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Even more concerning is that health reform depends on having more PCPs playing an even more important role in healthcare, through new models such as the PCMH. If financial challenges dissuade young physicians from entering careers in primary care or cause established PCPs to leave their practices, will there be enough PCPs for the influx of patients expected to enter the system?”

For more on the state of primary care, see exclusive survey results and related coverage in the August 10 issue of Medical Economics.