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Foundation releases five biggest issues facing doctors in 2013

An annual list of issues facing physicians doesn’t offer any surprises. The Physicians Foundation released today its Physicians Watch List, five issues the nonprofit organization has identified as likely to have the most impact on doctors in 2013.

The list is determined based on a number of reports, including the foundation’s 2012 Biennial Physician and Next Generation surveys. On the list for 2013 are:

  • Continued worry regarding the Affordable Care Act. Even though the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, doctors, the Physicians Foundation says, are concerned about how the health reform law will be implemented, with particular anxiety focused on the Medicare physician fee schedule and the independent payment advisory board.
  • Consolidation. As more and more doctors become employed by hospitals or large medical groups, doctors are keeping an eye on the possible unintended consequences of such consolidations – what impact these have on the profession and on patient access and cost of care.
  • Introduction of millions of new patients into the healthcare system. In 2014, estimates predict that more than 30 million new patients will enter the healthcare system, but doctors are worried there will not be enough of them to provide quality care for the increased number of patients.
  • Less physician autonomy. Related to the issue of consolidation and increased physician employment, is a concern of physicians that their ability to exercise independent medical judgments may be hindered by those in non-clinical positions.
  • Administrative burden. A continual concern for doctors is the increasing burden on them in the form of more regulations and non-clinical paperwork.

[See also: 5 biggest issues facing doctors in 2012.]

“We hope that the Foundation’s research and insights serve as a pragmatic resource that will help policy makers, physicians and healthcare providers formulate smart policy decisions that are beneficial to America’s patients and doctors,” said Walker Ray, MD, vice president of The Physicians Foundation and chair of its research committee, in a statement about the Physicians Watch List.

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