The results appear in the Sept. 14, 2009, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine and are the result of a national survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. physicians conducted by Mayo Clinic.
A majority of physicians who responded to the survey agree that physicians have a professional obligation to address health policy issues, are obligated to care for the uninsured or underinsured, and are willing to accept limits on reimbursement for expensive drugs and procedures for the sake of expanding access to basic health care.
However, the survey also showed that some health care reform measures such as scenarios in which patients are underinsured (such as Medicare) and using cost-effectiveness data in treatment decisions may face opposition from segments of the medical profession. Concerns were raised by some physicians especially surgical and procedural specialists who may be more likely to oppose these measures either because they believe physicians’ decision-making autonomy may be limited or they may feel like they might not be adequately reimbursed for costly services they provide.
According to Jon Tilburt, M.D., M.P.H., a Mayo Clinic general internal medicine physician and survey author, “In spite of some pockets of potential opposition, there is an opportunity to engage physicians in the national health care reform debate by building on their sense of professional responsibility. But policymakers must also engage physicians and address their concerns proactively during the process of health care reform.”
The entire survey can be viewed online.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of “the needs of the patient come first.” More than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers and 46,000 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has sites in Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, the three locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education visit www.mayo.edu. MayoClinic.com is available as a resource for your health stories.