Twenty percent of physicians expected to leave profession in next two years

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One in five physicians plan to leave the practice in the next two years, that’s according to an American Medical Association survey. Interim Dean of the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine Dr. Richard DiCarlo said for many physicians it’s retirement and more than 60% of doctors report burnout.

“A lot of studies have shown that more and more physicians are showing some signs of burnout, and I think there are multiple reasons for that,” said DiCarlo.

Among the reasons it required the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) DiCarlo said has created more administrative duties for physicians which means less time seeing patients. In addition to COVID and the stress it placed on physicians, DiCarlo said it’s caused a shortage among nurses and other healthcare workers.

“Working in systems that are faced with shortages is another thing that contributes to physician burnout,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said it’s expected that a large majority of the doctors who will leave are primary care physicians, and he fears for those who are dependent on care in underserved and/or rural areas will be impacted the most.

And just how many will leave the profession remains to be seen, DiCarlo said it could be as high as 100,000 or even more in the next decade. He said to address the issue medical schools have increased enrollment and they need more residency programs.

“And there are some plans for the federal government to fund more residency positions, that’s actually been stagnant for many years so that would be a welcome change,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo said mid-level physicians, like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are capable of providing care for a wider range of patients.

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