Physicians of all ages frustrated with delayed retirement

As recently reported by FierceHealthcare, the recent U.S. recession has forced many physicians to delay or even come out of retirement. The majority of them are "mad as hell" about having to work longer than they planned, said Keith Borglum, a practice management consultant, in an Medscape Today article.

Of 522 physicians who completed the online survey, 52 percent said their retirement plans had changed since the onset of the recession. Of this group, which included physicians of all ages, 70 percent said they intended to work longer than originally planned so they could make up losses to their investments. "I will never be able to retire," one physician said in his survey response.

And in group practices that set a mandatory retirement age for physicians, it's not only the older docs who are frustrated. "Physicians agree to a retirement age coming into the group," management consultant Mike La Penna told Medscape. "When they ask if they can work past it, the partners may not always let them. The younger doctors joined assuming that the older guys will leave at a set time."

While this scenario creates "tremendous internal pressure" within practices, the current physician shortage means that doctors should have little trouble finding new opportunities. In particular, Borglum said that positions within accountable care organizations may offer older physicians the flexibility with call schedule and work hours that they desire during those extra working years.

As a result, practices looking to recruit amid the shortage are well advised to determine how they'll make part-time arrangements work within their groups. If they don't, the competition surely will.

To learn more:
- read the article from Medscape Today (reg. req.)
- see the study (.pdf)
- check out the press release