Video: Staff Care VP Speaks about Future of Medical Profession at National Press Club

Video: Staff Care VP Speaks about Future of Medical Profession at National Press Club

Staff Care's Vice President of Communications, Phil Miller, is among the authors who have penned a series of peer-reviewed articles featured in the March, 2016 edition of Health Affairs on the topic of the future of physician employment.

Mr. Miller — who also serves as Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s leading physician search and consulting firm and a company of AMN Healthcare (as is Staff Care) — has been one of the healthcare staffing industry's leading voices on the physician shortage. (Read a sample of Mr. Miller's past writings on the physician shortage here.)

In his Health Affairs article, he explores the future of the medical profession in the United States, given the ongoing physician shortage and a number of other emerging trends, such as:

  • The extent to which "quality-tracking requirements and similar practice intrusions" will reshape how physicians practice, as well as how many physicians will be required in a given geographical region;
  • The extent to which the same changes will affect patients’ access to care;

"In an effort to curb the growth in health care spending, third-party payers led by Medicare are increasingly reimbursing physicians and hospitals on the basis of the quality of the care they provide or the value they produce instead of (or in addition to) the volume of services they generate, which is typically the case in fee-for-service payment," Mr. Miller writes in the article. "As a consequence, physicians are spending substantial amounts of time to document their use of quality measures."

There's more: "Responding to an increasingly intrusive practice environment, physicians report that they will choose a variety of practice models likely to reduce patients’ access to care or that they will retire early, which will exacerbate the physician shortage and fundamentally change the nature of the medical profession."

Mr. Miller's article is entitled "The Medical Profession’s Future: A Struggle Between Caring For Patients And Bottom-Line Pressures." You can view the online version at the Health Affairs website.

Video: Staff Care VP Speaks about Future of Medical Profession at National Press Club

Recently, Mr. Miller and several other Health Affairs authors have presented their findings at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at an event sponsored by The Physicians Foundation.

With an audience of 200 policy makers, journalists and healthcare analysts, the event was "a timely and thought-provoking discussion, held at a storied venue that has hosted presidents, monarchs, movie stars and other luminaries," writes Travis Singleton, Senior Vice President of Merritt Hawkins, in a summary of the event.

"A key theme of the presentations was value-based payments and how these are affecting physicians," Singleton adds. "Dr. Lawrence Casalino presented research sponsored by The Physicians Foundation showing that doctors now spend an average of 2.6 hours a week documenting quality measures, at an overall cost to physicians in select specialties of over $14 billion.

"Taking this data as a starting point, Mr. Miller noted how quality documenting requirements are just another in a series of bureaucratic duties that are eroding physician morale and causing many physicians to seek alternatives to traditional clinical practice. The net effect of emerging physician practice patterns is to reduce the number of full-time-equivalent physicians, a factor contributing to the physician shortage."

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