American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Despite managed care, internists are satisfied

From the March 1998 ACP Observer, copyright © 1998 by the American College of Physicians.

ACP members appear to be overwhelmingly satisfied with their medical careers, according to a new College survey scheduled to be released later this year.

About 90% of internists surveyed by telephone last fall reported that they were satisfied with their careers. Half said they were "very satisfied," while 40% said they were "somewhat satisfied." Of those who reported high career satisfaction, 57% cited "patient care or the doctor-patient relationship" as the single most important factor influencing their satisfaction.

Those results came despite much lower satisfaction with managed care organizations (MCOs). Only 7% of the internists polled said they were "very satisfied" with their MCOs, and 47% said they were "somewhat satisfied."

Of these two groups, the top reasons given for their satisfaction with managed care were "autonomy," "the quality of health care" and "reduced paperwork." Of the 46% who were either "not too satisfied" or "not at all satisfied" with their MCOs, the primary reasons given were "lack of autonomy," "a heavy bureaucracy" and "restrictions on referrals."

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