Physician turnover flattens, but more docs retire

Physician turnover stayed at a steady 6.8 percent over the past two years, but the number of doctors that retired from practicing increased drastically, reaching its highest-ever rate of 18 percent in 2013, according to the ninth annual Physician Retention Survey from the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and Cejka Search.

This trend represents a clear sign that the recession that caused many physicians to delay retirement is now over, according to an article from Medscape. A recovering housing market also makes it easier for retiring physicians to sell their homes and relocate, added David Cornett, senior executive vice president of Cejka Search.

What's less clear, however, is how often frustration with higher administrative and regulatory burdens drives doctors to retire early, Medscape noted. Spokespeople from AMGA and Cejka agreed that recent changes in the healthcare environment may indeed contribute to retirements.

But there's a bright side to the findings. "To rise to these challenges, medical groups are demonstrating remarkable leadership by investing in new staffing and delivery models, building and nurturing their teams in a strategic way, and making accountable care work for their patients and their communities," Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of AMGA, said in an announcement.

As evidence that team-based care models are more mature and successful, the survey showed that the turnover rate of nurse practitioners and physician assistants fell steadily over the past three years, to 9.4 percent in 2013, down from 11.6 percent in 2012 and 13.5 percent in 2011.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- access the survey
- here's the article