4 Ways the Affordable Care Act Has Impacted Physician Jobs
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, around 17 million Americans gained health insurance coverage, and the effect has been a large influx of new patients. Obviously, physicians, nurses, and many other health workers are needed to cope with the number of new patients, and a healthcare employment wave is expected to continue for several years.
At the same time, however, the risk for physicians being overwhelmed by increased patient load has gone up, and many physicians are rethinking their careers in light of new demands of physician jobs in the wake of the ACA. But simple demand for physicians isn’t the only effect the law has had on medical practices. Here are 4 ways the ACA has impacted physician jobs.
1. By Increasing the Amount of Paperwork Involved
The ACA isn’t the only factor influencing the amount of administrative work clinicians and office staff must take care of, and the fact that much of that “paperwork” is actually electronic only helps so much. The ICD-10 transition is still less than a year old, and Medicare Meaningful Use requirements have made their own demands on medical facilities. Today’s medical practice cannot afford to have anything less than a highly competent, trained, motivated staff so that new administrative requirements don’t negatively affect the revenue cycle.
2. By Constraining Physician Pay in Private Practices
A sizable majority of private practice physicians (86%) say they are not properly compensated by ACA reimbursements compared to the time they spend chasing that compensation, and 38% of physicians noted a decrease in salary after passage of the ACA. One reason may be that, particularly in non-Medicaid expansion states, primary care physicians (PCPs) reported a 1.3% reduction in patient visits in 2015, possibly due to the bigger share of healthcare costs consumers must pay out of pocket.
3. By Increasing Demand for Physicians
More people need PCPs, including millions who may have gone years without having one. Many health insurance plans indeed require new subscribers to select a PCP upon enrollment. So there’s no real paradox about primary care physicians seeing a drop in patient visits while overall demand for these physicians has grown. Having a PCP doesn’t always translate into seeing that physician very often. While the need for specialists is expected to increase as well, primary care physicians are currently experiencing the biggest jump in demand.
The ACA, plus the impending retirement of the baby boom generation are increasing demand for medical services.
4. By Making Locum Tenens a Real Career Option
Locum tenens physician jobs first gained traction in the 1970s, when government grants allocated temporary physicians to treat patients in underserved areas. At that time people wondered: “Are these doctors who can’t find ‘real’ jobs?” But all that has changed in the intervening four decades. As baby boomers wind down their careers and Millennials gear up, life balance has become more of a mainstream issue. For many physicians, having a career as a locum tenens physician makes the most sense of any option.
Some people choose to take locum tenens jobs because they like to travel and don’t feel like putting down roots in one place. Others may take local locum tenens jobs to supplement family income while raising a family. Older doctors closer to retirement may find that working locum tenens physician jobs is the perfect way to transition out of the high demands of a medical career and more toward retirement. In fact, the number of physicians choosing locum tenens physician jobs increased from 6.4% in 2012 to 9% in 2014. That number may continue to rise as the effects of the ACA become more well-defined.
The healthcare delivery environment is changing not just for patients, but for doctors too, and many doctors are rethinking the type of medical career they want to have. Locum tenens physician jobs have become a more attractive option for many reasons, and benefit not only patients and locum tenens physicians themselves, but also the facilities that hire them so they can continue to provide medical services. Whether you represent a medical facility, or are a physician interested in locum tenens jobs, All Medical Personnel Locum Tenens encourages you to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience. We would be delighted to hear from you.