46% jump in number of physicians working part-time

More and more, physicians are balancing professional time with personal time through the use of part-time employment. A survey conducted by Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) shows a rise in the number of physicians who practice part time. From 2005 to 2007, the percentage of all physicians practicing part time increased from 13 percent (5 percent men and 8 percent women) to 19 percent (7 percent men and 12 percent women) — a jump of 46 percent.

“Twenty years ago, the concept of practicing medicine on a part-time basis was never heard of,” says David Cornett, regional vice president for client services at Cejka Search. The need is not coming from the organizations but from the younger physician population and those nearing retirement,” says Cornett.

Forecasts of a shortage of primary care physicians and the trend toward more part-time practice suggest that it will be increasingly difficult for health plans to ensure access to primary care providers for their members.

Cornett says that physicians want to avoid the administrative burdens of running a traditional independent medical practice and that managed care organizations can play a role by reducing those burdens.

“If managed care organizations can remove obstacles for physicians, they will be more productive — and accessible to health plan members — within the clinical hours they will be working,” says Cornett.

The survey instrument was sent to 300 AMGA member medical groups. Fifteen percent responded.