Attracting and Retaining Physicians in New York State

The Center for Health Workforce Studies reported recently that the in-state retention of new physicians has gradually declined from a high of 54% in 1999 to the lowest since the survey began of 44% in 2012.

This is particularly troubling as demand for physician services continues to outpace physician supply, particularly in ophthalmology, urology, psychiatry, pathology, general internal medicine, general/family medicine, and otolaryngology.

Member Physicians of the Medical Society of the State of New York protest in Albany

There are areas of the state and populations that are already underserved by the current physician supply. The implications of the forecasts for these areas and populations are dire. New York must do more to attract and retain physicians.

New York Must:

• Reduce the overhead burden shouldered by physician practices through meaningful civil justice reform;

• Assure fairness in contracting by leveling the playing field for physicians in their negotiations with health insurers;

• Continue an adequately funded Excess Medical Liability program to assure that physicians will have the coverage needed to protect them from personal financial exposure to escalating medical liability awards;

• Prevent the imposition of costly and burdensome CON requirements on physician offices and equipment purchases;

• Put additional resources toward the Doctors Across New York program to allow for more awardees and modify eligibility to assure a more equitable balance of awards between institutionally based and private practice physicians;

• Create income tax credits for physicians who practice in specialty shortage areas;

• Continue Medicaid reimbursement of primary care rates at Medicare levels beyond 2015;

• Defeat any proposal to directly or indirectly tax medical services, medical devices or products or sites of service; and

• Defeat any proposal to increase the biennial physician registration fee.

New York State currently has the worst malpractice environment and there is legislation that would allow the statute of limitations of malpractice litigation to increase from the current limit of 2.5 years.

This would result in medical liability premiums to increase by nearly 15%. A cost that would subject physicians to an additional financial burden and subsequently cause more physicians to retire early or leave the state. Sometimes called the “Chase Your Doctor out of New York Act”, this bill must be opposed.

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