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NC Doctors Just As Burned Out But More Likely To Own Their Practice, Survey Says


Doctors in North Carolina are feeling the effects of certain national health care trends but bucking others. The Physicians Foundation's 2016 survey shows high burnout but lower hospital consolidation in North Carolina.

Nearly half of doctors who responded to the survey feel burned out often or always. Another quarter or so sometimes have that feeling. That's true in North Carolina and nationally, according to the survey.

Bob Seligson is executive vice president of the North Carolina Medical Society, the main organization representing doctors in the state. 

"A lot of this can be contributed to the fact that they're spending an inordinate amount of their time with regulatory and paperwork responsibilities," he says.  

Seligson says that's because of federal and state changes, with the Affordable Care Act and a new Medicare payment formula looming large. In North Carolina and nationally, about 70 percent of doctors still say they're glad they chose their profession, but only half would recommend it to their kids.

The survey also shows a lot more doctors are working for hospitals or large medical groups. The number of independent practice owners or partners nationally has declined about 32 percent in the past few years.

But in North Carolina, the percent of owners or partners has increased slightly. Part of the explanation may be in another section of the survey, which shows North Carolina doctors view hospitals less favorably than their national counterparts.

Another way North Carolina stands out is with Medicaid. Doctors are 6 percent more likely here to see patients on the government insurance program for the poor and disabled.