Brach Eichler physician survey: More doctors than not would recommend college grads join profession

For all the toll new regulations and lower reimbursement rates have had on the profession, more physicians than not said they would still recommend medical school — and the profession — to recent college grads.

That was just one of the takeaways of the Brach Eichler 2019 New Jersey Health Care Monitor, the eighth annual survey of physician practices by the Roseland-based firm.

John Fanburg, Brach Eichler managing member and Health Care Law Practice chair, said that result was a positive for a profession, as 53% of those surveyed said they would recommend the field.

“This suggests that, despite the growing regulatory and compliance burdens, as well as competitive pressures, physicians still derive enormous satisfaction from the practice of medicine. This fact really says more about the profession here in New Jersey than anything else, much to the benefit of patients,” Fanburg said.

This year’s study didn’t reveal dramatic fluctuations in the trends from the 2018 study, but Fanburg said that’s not surprising.

“(It takes time before) we meaningfully start to see the longer-term effects of some of these changes, such as (mergers and acquisitions) activity, New Jersey’s evolving cannabis laws and the influence of Wall Street and private equity,” he said. “While the relative consistency among the trends between last year and this year may suggest that there is stability in the marketplace, in fact, New Jersey’s health care arena continues to evolve, quite dramatically in some ways, and serves as a barometer for the changing practice of medicine across the country.”

Here are some of the trends Brach Eichler has highlighted for 2020:

  • New York- and Philadelphia-based hospitals will continue to penetrate the New Jersey market; for example, Penn Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Rothman Institute have followed other large hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering and New York Presbyterian into the New Jersey health care marketplace;
  • Physicians will continue to move away from smaller practices to hospital affiliations, a decision driven as much by geography as strategy. Specialists, in particular, will need to look more carefully at their referral sources. As hospitals continue to merge, they will exert greater influence over their referral base, which will have a significant effect on which specialists patients “choose”;
  • Wall Street and private equity will continue to help physicians monetize their practices;
  • Patient care will increasingly be rendered by physician assistants and advanced practice nurses as physicians face growing pressure to be ever more efficient with regard to patient “throughput,” something that is especially true within the larger practice groups.

About the survey: In November 2019, Brach Eichler surveyed 149 physicians, including solo practitioners, members of group practices and employees of health care facilities. To access the full results of the survey, click here.

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