The Changing Healthcare System and Physician Happiness

March 27, 2017

The growing number of employed physicians could lead to the unionization of medical professions and a wildly different health system.

Happiness. Are you happy being a physician? If you had it to do all over again would you still become a physician?

The American Medical Association estimated that over 50 percent of the current physicians in the U.S. are employees of a hospital or healthcare system. According to the physicians I work with in my area, the employed doctors are not very happy. They have little or no control over what they do, where to refer a patient, or the tests that they are being asked to order.

They are forced to care about production goals at the office and the amount of time they are scheduled to see new and existing patients. The primary-care physicians no longer go to the hospital for inpatient care. A lot of them talk about when they can expect to retire and seem to have little feelings for the patients.

It is possible that with so many physicians employed, eventually there might be a physician's union to settle disputes and negotiate contracts on behalf of the union member. A healthcare system or hospital at that point could be looking at the possibility of a work slowdown or strike. If there is a union for the physicians, how long will it be before the nurses have their own union for representation?

The future of medicine will be forever changed with the unionization of the healthcare industry. Government regulation and Obamacare have accelerated this change, as it is difficult to keep up with all the changes and meet the goals to not be in a penalty situation in 2019.

I wonder about the enrollment in U.S. medical schools given the amount of debt you incur by graduation. Over time will we see fewer physicians trained in this country? Within the next 20 years there could be enough changes that practicing physicians today will not recognize medical care in this country.