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Southeast is region of choice for doctors, but many are eyeing career changes, Medicus survey shows

Physician Practice Preference and Relocation Survey includes 2,351 respondents from 50 states and more than 20 specialties.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

The Southeast is still the region of choice for physicians to live and practice, but almost 20 percent plan to change careers within a year. Those who are practicing strongly prefer a single-specialty group setting over hospital employment. Those are some of the key findings of the 2017 Physician Practice Preference and Relocation Survey by the Medicus Firm, it's 14th edition.

The survey was conducted in May 2017 and includes 2,351 respondents from 50 states and more than 20 specialties.

The Southeast was the region of choice, taking 24 percent of the vote. New England came in second with 13.8 percent. The Mid-Atlantic region came in third and the Pacific region was fourth.

It would also appear physicians who responded to the survey are looking to leave the medical field, as 17 percent said they are looking to change careers within the next year.

When it comes to their environment, practicing physicians strongly prefer single-specialty group settings over hospital employment by 32 percent versus 16 percent. New and future physicians saw a more even spread with 27 percent preferring single specialty versus 25 preferring the hospital environment. In recent years, hospital employment had become the top preference for one or both groups, Medicus said, so the results this year are somewhat of a contradiction.

[Also: Compensation for primary care physicians shows notable uptick in 2016, Medicus Firm report shows]

Results also showed that the transition to value is moving at a slower pace than some might expect. Nearly half of responding physicians said that none of their income is based on quality or outcomes, more than 14 percent were unsure, and another 13 percent reported that five percent or less of their 2016 income was based on value or outcomes.

Despite a lot of concern and complaints about reporting burdens, especially under MACRA, physicians gave EMR positive feedback on improving the accuracy of patient documentation. However, not surprisingly, gave it a failing grade on reducing administrative workload, Medicus said.

Finally, as congressional Republicans work diligently to repeal President Obama's legacy legislation, the Affordable Care Act, physicians' opinions of the law are becoming vastly more positive.

"Each year physicians are asked to grade the Affordable Care Act on its efficacy in meeting various objectives. After a dip in approval rating last year, overall approval rating improved this year to 76 percent," Medicus said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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