The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is out October 1 with a fairly regular1 if not annual survey of its practicing members and member administrators. The survey answers a burning question among Massachusetts healthcare statisticians:
"How can we possibly cut healthcare spending 25% per year in Massachusetts on the average over the next 15 years as mandated by the Massachusetts legislature and as predicted by Harvard eggheads?"
What a brilliant plan.
One problem with drawing any meaningful conclusion from this particular MMS research (MMS has other studies that are more relevant to healthcare insurance reform efforts) is that it primarily looks at the pool of doctors as a labor market. That is, it studies the extent to which there are openings for positions at hospitals and large physician practices and whether there are enough applicants to fill those positions. For this it depends on surveying hospital and large-practice administrators.
This study also tries to determine shortages based on wait times for individual physicians as an indicator of shortages. That's really a different issue and a less reliable approach to answering the question at hand as a labor market. This question was answered by talking to receptionists in doctors' office
A third area of inquiry looked at physician satisfaction and other issues and this was accomplished by a mailed survey to practicing docs. There is a lot of crumbs in this part of the survey that I will explore in depth in a future post. The most important to my meme for this post:
"7% of doctors are planning to move out of Massachusetts."
-- Dennis Byron
1 It does not seem to appear exactly yearly because I can find no reference on my web site from this time last year. Also -- truth in advertising and father's pride -- I have a daughter who is a member of the Mass. Medical Society House of Delegates.