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Radiologists Lament Liability Risk, Low Reimbursement as Key Frustrations


11/27/2007 12:00:00 AM


Radiologists Lament Liability Risk, Low Reimbursement as Key Frustrations Physician Survey Shows Radiologists Relish Intellectual Stimulation of Specialty

Alpharetta, Ga., November 27, 2007 Medical liability risk, declining reimbursement for services and lifestyle issues are among the issues on the minds of radiologists, many of whom have gathered in Chicago this week for the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America. At least that is the indication from a 2007 physician survey conducted by physician recruiting firm

When asked on an open-ended basis what they would change if they could change one thing about practicing medicine, radiologists' comments included these:

  • "Malpractice statute and defensive medicine it causes."
  • "Remove all lawyers and ridiculous requests that 'CYA' medicine generates."
  • "Malpractice-the way it is handled is really poor…"
  • "The fact that lawyers and politicians have an undue influence on the way that medicine is practiced."
  • "Somehow allow for more free time with the family."

Among some 200 radiologists responding to the physician survey, only 3% said they were not frustrated about practicing medicine in today's healthcare marketplace. Remaining respondents identified with a list of possible physician frustrations as follows:

  • Medical liability issues - 31%
  • Reimbursement issues - 24%
  • Lifestyle issues: Too much time at work - 19%
  • Administrative and business agendas interfere with clinical decisions - 13%
  • Federal regulations, policies, procedures - 8%

"Radiologists are among the top earners in medicine in part because of the cost of their medical liability insurance," Vice President Katie Thill said. "Declining reimbursements and physician shortages mean greater time pressure and often longer hours to provide care for an expanding patient base."

Career Choices Compared

Despite their frustration and consistent with 2006 physician survey results, more than two-thirds of responding radiologists (70%) said they would choose medicine as a career path if they had it to do over again. This compares with physicians from other specialties as follows:

  • 77% of cardiologists
  • 76% of internists
  • 75% of pediatricians
  • 69% of anesthesiologists
  • 65% of orthopedic surgeons
  • 59% of obstetricians/gynecologists

Respondents' answers to the question, "What do you like most about practicing medicine?" indicated that the intellectual stimulation, collegial interaction and professional satisfaction radiologists enjoy in their jobs are what keep them from regretting their career choice.

More than half (58%) of responding radiologists said they had no plans to change jobs (compared to 59% of 2006 respondents). Twenty-six percent said they planned to change jobs within the next year and, including those, 42% said they planned to change jobs within 3 years. Thirty-three percent of respondents cited 'better work environment' as the top reason for making a job change, while 28% cited 'higher compensation' and 22% cited 'better community for self and family.'

Eighty-two percent of responding radiologists were male, 89% were board-certified, and 67% were employed full-time. Respondents had practiced radiology for an average of 18.5 years. More than half (61%) of respondents said they had worked as a locum tenens provider, but another 35% said they might consider it. Best of Staffing Client Logo Best of Staffing Talent Logo Fortune Best Workplace Logo NALTO Logo Beyond Profit Logo